Baseball Heaven serves as Note-Hawks backdrop
Not even the possibility of severe weather can temper the fervor leading up to the first outdoor NHL game in the history of St. Louis.
As originally planned, the Blues and Blackhawks will drop the puck at Busch Stadium shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the hosts odds of -125 to emerge victorious in the 2017 installment of the Winter Classic. Joel Quenneville’s group, on the other hand, represents a -105 underdog.
The specter of rain rain certainly looms over this afternoon’s tilt. Yet, these Central Division rivals desperately want to lock horns for the fourth time in several weeks. Chicago captured the most recent meeting, 6-4, as the ascending Artemi Panarin picked up a goal and two assists.
While the Blues (19-13-5) are new to the showcase event of the league’s regular season, the Blackhawks know the stage in question particularly well. Today’s tilt marks Chicago’s fifth outdoor contest. In 2014 at Soldier Field, the team even dealt with snow during the proceedings.
Quenneville’s troops arguably haven’t looked the same since Marian Hossa went down with a upper-body injury on Dec. 20. Marcus Kruger left Friday’s 3-2 loss to Carolina due to an undisclosed issue, too. Nonetheless, the Hawks (23-11-5) understand their opponents inside and out. Expect the visitors to force yet another one-goal affair.
MONDAY NHL FREE PICK: BLACKHAWKS +1.5