Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Preview
Where: Amalie Arena – Tampa, Florida
When: Monday, March 27, 2017, 7:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBCSN
Writer’s Pick: Chicago Blackhawks (-125)
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Betting on the Chicago Blackhawks (48-21-6, 102 pts)
The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off their worst loss of the season as they were thumped 7-0 by the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Corey Crawford had another rough night with four goals conceded on just 25 shots. Scott Darling didn’t do much better with three goals conceded on six shots. Crawford has now given up 10 goals on 79 shots over his last three starts.
It remains to be seen whether head coach Joel Quenneville decides to give Crawford the night off. Crawford gave up five goals in a 5-2 Blackhawks loss to the Lightning earlier this season.
Chicago is all but secured the top seed in the Western Conference thanks to a seven-point lead over the Minnesota Wild, but Quenneville wants his team to remain as sharp as possible entering the playoffs. Jonathan Toews was held pointless against the Panthers, and will look to jumpstart another point streak after his most recent one ended at six games. Artemi Panarin has also gone pointless in three games, but has yet to go four straight games without a point all season.
Prior to their loss to the Panthers, the Blackhawks had gone an impressive 11-1 over their last 12 road games.
Betting on the Tampa Bay Lightning (36-29-9, 81 pts)
The Tampa Bay Lightning are doing their best to keep their playoff hopes alive. After smashing the Boston Bruins 6-3, they edged out the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in overtime. They remain three points back of the Bruins for the final wild card spot in the East.
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s scheduled game did his play a lot of good as he stopped 29 of 30 shots on his return against the Wings. That was quite an improvement considering he had conceded four goals in each of his last four starts. Vasilevskiy was the winning goalie when the Lightning beat the Blackhawks in their earlier meeting as he made 34 stops on 36 shots.
Brian Boyle and Valterri Filppula both picked up two points in that game, but both are no longer with the team after being traded. Tyler Johnson, who also scored two goals, is out with a lower body injury, and might not return by the end of the regular season.
Nikita Kucherov is still around, though, and is doing everything in his power to keep the Lightning in the playoff hunt. Kucherove has seven goals and nine points over his last four games, including a hat-trick against the Bruins.
The Blackhawks (-125) get back on track with a 3-2 road win.
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