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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals Winter Classic Predictions, Picks and Betting Preview – January 1, 2015

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals Winter Classic Predictions, Picks and Betting Preview – January 1, 2015

It’s finally time for the Winter Classic. This year’s edition matches up the Chicago Blackhawks against the Washington Capitals at Nationals Park on New Year’s Day. The Winter Classic isn’t just any other regular season game. The thrill of playing outdoors and the tens of thousands of fans should give the players a boost to put on quite a show.

Can the Western Conference powerhouse, Chicago, spoil the New Year’s Day party in Washington? Read on as we give you a complete preview of the exciting action to come.

More stadiums around the nation will start the New Year with festivities. Check out our complete picks and predictions for the 2015 New Year’s Day Bowl Games.

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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals Preview

Where: Nationals Park, Washington

When: Thursday, January 1, 1:00 PM ET

Line: Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals – view all NHL lines

Betting on the Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks had quite a scare against their Western Conference rivals, Nashville, on Monday night. They trailed by 3-0 in the second period before Brad Richards, Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa scored in a 7:10 span to tie the game. Nashville would lead again before Bryan Bickell’s goal tied it in the dying minutes of regulation, and Jonathan Toews scored the only goal in the shootout for the win.

[sc:NHL240 ]Chicago can avoid another scare if its vaunted defense holds up. The Blackhawks own league’s best goals-against average at 2.08.

Netminder Corey Crawford has been solid between the pipes, ranking 12th in the league with a 2.08 GAA. However, Crawford also has his bad days, like on Monday night where he allowed four goals against Nashville. He also allowed three goals and had a .875 save percentage in a 3-2 loss to Washington on November 7.

The Blackhawks can still win if their goaltending has another down game as they also have one of the league’s best offenses this season. Patrick Kane has 11 points (four goals and seven assists) in his past five games and has 39 points (sixth-most in the league) on the season.

Meanwhile, Patrick Sharp had his 500th assist Monday night in his 700th game. Sharp’s playmaking should be an excellent complement to Kane in Chicago’s frontline. Jonathan Toews is also a steady contributor to the Blackhawks’ offense with 12 points (three goals and nine assists) in December. The three make up a formidable Chicago attack, which has scored 3.03 goals per game (third in the league).

The Blackhawks are 7-3 in their last 10 games.

The Winter Classic is one of the events that you cannot miss. Create a betting account now and get yourself deep into the exciting hockey action to come.

Betting on the Washington Capitals

With a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday night, the Washington Capitals have now lost for the second time in three games heading into the Winter Classic. The Capitals still had their moments though as they wiped off the Isles’ 3-0 advantage with a three-goal barrage in the third period.

Alex Ovechkin had a goal and an assist against the Isles. He has been a handful to contain, firing at least five shots on goal in the past 10 games. Ovechkin’s ability to put pucks on goal should draw Chicago’s defenders to him lest he score.

With the Blackhawks’ defense focused on Ovechkin, the doors may open for Nicklas Backstrom to net a timely goal. Backstrom has 12 goals in 36 games this season.

Left winger Marcus Johansson may be solid off the bench to fill in for Ovechkin. He has 21 points on the season (10 goals and 11 assists),  two of which came in the first meeting against the Blackhawks this season. He had a goal and assisted in another against Chicago’s Corey Crawford.

The Caps may start Braden Holtby between the pipes again when they welcome Chicago to Nationals Park. Holtby allowed two goals and had a .950 save percentage in the first meeting against the Blackhawks.

The Caps have won their last three home games against Chicago.

Writer’s Prediction

The Blackhawks spoil the New Year’s party at Washington. Take Chicago to win the Winter Classic.

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Written by Kevin

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