Ducks Look For Win in Chicago

While the Anaheim Ducks are looking to finish at the top of the Western Conference standings, the Chicago Blackhawks want to avoid ending up at the bottom.

The Ducks resume their chase of the conference's top seed and look to avoid a fourth straight road loss when they visit the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

This visit to the United Center appears to be well-timed for the Ducks (44-20-12), hoping to reduce their deficit on Nashville and Detroit in the conference race while extending their lead over Dallas and San Jose in the Pacific Division.

Oddsmakers have made Anaheim -230 money line (NHL Odds) favorites for todays game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 total

goals (View NHL Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 75% of bets for this game have been placed on Anaheim -230 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

The Blackhawks (27-39-9) are likely to finish in last place in the Central Division for the second time in three seasons and must outplay Phoenix down the stretch to avoid finishing with the worst record in the West.

Chicago has gone winless through the first half of a season-high six-game homestand, extending its overall losing streak to five games. The Blackhawks are 14-19-4 at the United Center and have the fewest home wins among Western teams - only Philadelphia has fewer with eight.

The Ducks have only one regulation loss in the last 16 matchups against Chicago, including an 8-0-1 mark since Nov. 2, 2003.

Anaheim was unable to reverse its road woes on Monday, losing 1-0 to Detroit as Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 27 saves but allowed a second-period goal to Pavel Datsyuk.

"Exactly like a playoff game," said Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne, who is pointless in a season-high three straight games. "We stopped skating in the second period."

Giguere has followed a five-game win streak by losing three of his last four starts. However, he has won four straight and eight of nine starts versus the Blackhawks, and has not allowed more than three goals in his last 15 games against them.

Chicago has not scored more than twice in any outing during its five-game skid, including a 3-2 loss to Calgary on Sunday as the team blew a third-period lead.

"We've got a young team, young players that are learning, including myself," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It's important for us to kind of buckle down in the third period and find a way to win some of these games."

Nikolai Khabibulin, hoping to end a four-game skid during which he's allowed 15 goals, has lost all but one of his last six starts against Anaheim.

Among the Blackhawks struggling offensively is leading scorer Martin Havlat, who has no goals and five assists in 12 games this month.

Chicago had allowed at least one power-play goal in seven straight games, giving up 14 in 43 short-handed situations, before killing off all four of Calgary's opportunities on Sunday.

Anaheim has failed to score a power-play goal in each of its last four losses, and has at least two in each of its last four wins.

by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us

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