Chicago seeks slump buster in San Jose
Due in large part to some sketchy goaltending, the Blackhawks dropped their final two games before the All-Star break. Will Corey Crawford & Co. rebound when the league schedule resumes this evening?
Chicago heads to the West Coast for a 10:30 p.m. ET puck drop with San Jose. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Peter DeBoer’s club odds of -135 to emerge victorious. The Hawks, on the other hand, represent +115 underdogs.
On Jan. 24, Crawford surrendered three third-period tallies in a 5-2 loss to Tampa Bay. The implosion prompted Chicago coach Joel Quenneville to tab Scott Darling as his starter two nights later. Yet the 28-year-old backup looked similarly sluggish, yielding four markers against Winnipeg.
Not every Blackhawk had the opportunity to recharge over the weekend, either. Crawford, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith all participated in the festivities at Staples Center. The Sharks sent Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Martin Jones to the annual gala, too, but the Pacific Division co-leaders have won six of seven.
With a record of 17-7-1 at SAP Center, San Jose clearly understands how to take care of business at home. We’re very interested to see if one of the visiting squad’s most potent performers can rectify a rough stretch away from the United Center. Reigning Calder Trophy winner Artemi Panarin has a mere two assists in his past six road contests. That kind of pedestrian production makes us leery of forecasting anything close to an offensive bonanza here.
TUESDAY NHL FREE PICK: BLACKHAWKS/SHARKS UNDER 5 GOALS