Crawford returns to dominant ways
After allowing 13 goals in his first four starts this season, Corey Crawford’s back to his normal self. And that’s a scary realization for any team that sets foot in the Windy City.
In the second game of a home-and-home series, the Blackhawks and their red-hot goaltender will play host to Dallas tonight. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives Joel Quenneville’s gang odds of -160 to secure the weekend sweep. Conversely, the Stars enter United Center as +140 underdogs.
Chicago (8-3-1) held on for a 3-2 triumph last night, with Crawford coming up clutch down the stretch. The 31-year-old has yielded a total of seven tallies since Oct. 24. He’ll look to exploit a Dallas club that carries a 1-3-1 record on the road.
At the same time, Lindy Ruff’s troops tend to give Crawford trouble. He’s dropped two straight home decisions against them, posting a 6.90 GAA with a .824 save percentage. Plus, the Stars (4-5-2) genuinely can’t afford to keep losing ground in the ultra-competitive Central Division, even at such an early juncture.
Reality, however, points to a decisive edge for the Blackhawks. Not only is Patrick Kane heating up in a hurry, Crawford won’t even have to contend with Jason Spezza (upper-body injury). Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Jiri Hudler, Cody Eakin and Mattias Janmark also remain sidelined, painting a grim portrait for the Stars.
SUNDAY NHL FREE PICK: BLACKHAWKS -1.5