Chicago still searching for vintage form
Joel Quenneville understood he’d have to get contributions from some unlikely sources in 2016-17. Yet Chicago’s coach surely didn’t count on Richard Panik being his best player in the early going.
The 25-year-old forward already boasts four goals and an assist entering tonight’s bout against Philadelphia. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Panik & Co. odds of -150 to hold serve at home. Conversely, the Flyers enter United Center as +130 underdogs.
In Saturday’s 5-3 triumph over the Predators, Panik had a hat trick. He’s thriving on a line with standout center Jonathan Toews. Meanwhile, usual stalwarts like Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Marian Hossa remain off the score sheet through three contests.
Dave Hakstol’s team has been able to exhibit superior balance so far. With goals from six skaters, Philly’s biggest question mark seems to surround the goaltending position. Michael Neuvirth and Steve Mason continue to fight it out for the No. 1 job, though the former did secure a 4-2 win against the Kings in the Flyers’ second contest.
This evening, we expect the Blackhawks to show their true form. Corey Crawford’s due for a bounce-back effort between the pipes, and the offensive standouts surely won’t stay bottled up for much longer. Enjoy the show.
TUESDAY NHL FREE PICK: FLYERS/BLACKHAWKS OVER 5.5 GOALS