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With three wins from their past three outings, the Chicago Blackhawks (5th in Central Division) are heading to Toronto to square up against the local Maple Leafs (3rd in Atlantic), who have registered just one victory in their past five contests...
‘Hawks Win Three In RowThe current three-date road trek of the Chicago Blackhawks (22-20-6) went a perfect 2-0-0 following the first two fixtures after the team kept up with Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime win against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre with a 4-1 beat-down of the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre just 24 hours later. Dominik Kubalik (18 goals, 28 points this year) and Zack Smith (4 goals, 11 points) banked two markers each throughout the stretch, as the ‘Hawks won for the third consecutive time after collecting three defeats in four outings prior (1-3-0). Chicago is 11-9-3 when skating on the road so far this season.
"Hopefully can step right in and help the team win.”— Carter Baum (@CarterBaum) January 17, 2020
Brandon Saad returned to the ice with the #Blackhawks in Toronto today after missing the last 12 games with a right ankle injury.https://t.co/CMFT9pI76S
Goalie Corey Crawford, who stopped 32 shots in his native Montreal, has picked up an 8-13-2 total for the rolling year with a 3.00 GAA and a .908 save percentage. He is 4-1-0 against the Toronto Maple Leafs historically with a 2.37 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are scoring the 12th lowest quantity of goals per game (2.90), while allowing the 11th highest amount on the defensive end (3.10). They are 27th in power play (15.7%) and 6th in penalty kill (83.0%).
Leafs Encounter Shootout SetbackThe Toronto Maple Leafs (25-16-7) went 1-0-1 on their ongoing three-game homestand after following up Tuesday’s 7-4 thrashing of the New Jersey Devils with a 2-1 shootout win against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday. William Nylander (21 goals, 42 points this year) tied the proceedings at 1-1 from a pass by John Tavares (18 goals, 41 points), with the Devils eventually winning the contest in three rounds of the tiebreaker (1-0). The Leafs have now gone 1-2-2 in their past five matchups after collecting points in 10 straight games prior (9-0-1). The team is 12-5-7 on own ice this year.
Goalie Frederik Andersen made 31 saves versus Calgary, taking his ongoing performance status to 22-8-6 for the season with a 2.80 GAA and a .912 save percentage. He has registered a 3-2-3 previous total against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 3.03 GAA and a .902 save percentage. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, are netting the 2nd highest number of goals per game (3.60), while giving up the 9th highest bulk in their defensive zone (3.23). They are 6th in power play (24.1%) and 25th in penalty kill (76.1%).
Toronto (according to Covers.com)
- Maple Leafs are 6-1 in their last 7 Saturday games.
- Maple Leafs are 5-2 in their last 7 vs. a team with a losing record.
Chicago (according to Covers.com)
- Blackhawks are 3-10 in their last 13 Saturday games.
- Blackhawks are 4-9 in their last 13 vs. a team with a winning record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This series has turned out super close lately, with the Blackhawks winning the very last two meetings with the Maple Leafs just by a single goal, and the previous five encounters all going past regulation. Expect another tight contest on Saturday, with Toronto looking to snap the current three-game winning run of Chicago, posting its second domestic win in the last five home games in the process. The ‘Hawks are in pretty decent shape at the moment, but have only managed to notch four triumphs in their previous 13 outings versus sides with a winning record, while the Leafs have been deadly when skating on their last few Saturdays, going 6-1 on the past seven occasions.
Prediction: Toronto Maple Leafs (-210)
Full-Game Total Pick
Four of the previous five meetings between Toronto and Chicago have delivered some serious scoring, averaging no less than 9.50 strikes per fixture. So, another goals-bonanza is definitely not out of the question in this case! Five of the last seven contests of the Blackhawks versus teams with a winning record have already brought plenty of markers on the scoresheet, while five of the past seven domestic fixtures of the Maple Leafs have all finished above the set goal-mark, with an incredible average of 10.00 strikes netted per game.
Prediction: Over 6.5