The Chicago Blackhawks got away from the Washington Capitals the last time they met. But this time around, Washington looks to finish the job as favorites on the NHL betting lines. With Nicklas Backstrom finally returning to Washington, expect the new-look Caps to have a more inspired performance against Chicago.
Game: Washington Capitals (17-5-6) at Chicago Blackhawks (10-15-2)
Location: United Center
Day/Time: Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET
Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks
Capitals: Since You’ve Been Gone …
At long last, Alex Ovechkin’s best buddy returns to the ice. Backstrom could be rejoining Washington in a regular-season game for the first time this season. The Swede has been healing from a hip injury and his return can help bolster Washington’s already-potent offense.
Backstrom could be rusty and may be more of a detriment to the team. After all, Washington is atop the Metropolitan Division and has been doing just fine without him. Ovechkin is on pace for a career-best 128 points.
Washington remains one of the best teams on 5v5. It leads the NHL in goals, scoring chance shooting percentage and PDO. If Backstrom can help restore the power play, the team may just become the best offense in the NHL. Now that’s worth a bet online.
Blackhawks: Cold at Home
The embattled Chicago Blackhawks have been doing a lot better since their god-awful start. The team is 5-5 in their last 10 and 4-4 as an underdog. The catch is, most of their success over those 10 games has been away from home. Chicago went 4-3 on the road but just 1-2 at home.
The Blackhawks have lost their last two home games and their only regulation wins at home have come against Arizona and Ottawa, who have a combined record of 13-36-3. But the Hawks did beat Nashville, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. They just needed extra time to do it.
Chicago is getting outscored by 36-26 at home even if it is outshooting its opponents 370-358. The team is struggling on 5v5 and is among the worst at generating scoring chances. On top of that, the power play is down at 12.5 percent, which is the third-lowest in the league. Until Chicago can get it going, it’s tough to trust this team on the online Sportsbook.
Betting Pick: All Caps
There are few advantages Chicago has over Washington, so it would take either team to underperform or overperform for this one to be close. Washington is a lot more potent at scoring and even if it rolls out Vitek Vanecek, the worse of the goaltenders, it should be able to trounce Chicago.
The Caps are 6-3-1 in its last 10 meetings against Chicago and if Backstrom can revitalize their power play, they may just cook the Hawks in their own building. For Chicago to stay competitive here, Marc-Andre Fleury will have to stand on his head and hope Chicago can convert on its few scoring opportunities.
Pick: Washington Capitals -150
Washington may be a high-flying team, but its defense has been underrated. The Caps are allowing the fifth-fewest goals on the seventh-fewest shots. Chicago is also a smaller team and will get manhandled here. It will take an off night from both netminders for the scoring to go high here. Bet the under at the better price.