The Chicago Blackhawks are on the tail end of a back-to-back as they head to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night. It’s time to continue our NHL odds series with a Blackhawks-Lightning prediction and pick.
The Blackhawks failed to score on Thursday night as they lost 4-0 to the Florida Panthers. Aleksander Barkov gave Florida the lead at the end of the first period and would tally a power-play goal in the third to lead Florida to victory. Ultimately, goalie Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 37 Chicago shots he faced. While Patrick Kane fired seven shots, none connected, and the all-star finished with a -1 rating. Collin Delia made 40 saves for the Blackhawks and came up short on his end.
The Lightning rallied from behind to zap the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Tuesday night. Nino Niederreiter gave the Hurricanes the lead early but the Lightning tied it up and did it two more times. In the third period, Tampa tied it up on a power-play goal by Brayden Point. He connected off a rebound from a one-timer from Steven Stamkos. Therefore, the game went into overtime. In the extra frame, Stamkos scored in the slot off a pass from Nikita Kucherov to give Tampa the win. Hence, the Lightning is 42-18-6 and eight points behind the Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Blackhawks-Lightning odds:
NHL Odds: Blackhawks-Lightning Odds
Blackhawks: +1.5 (+116)
Lightning: -1.5 (-140)
Over: 6.5 (+102)
Under: 6.5 (-120)
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Why The Blackhawks Could Cover The Spread
Chicago still has Kane and Alex Debrincat. Kane is a future Hall of Famer, and Debrincat leads the Blackhawks with 38 goals. Ultimately, the Hawks can put points on the board. They will have a challenge in front of them if they face Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning is on the first of a back-to-back, and they will start Vasilevskiy or backup goalie Brian Elliot. Regardless, the Hawks proved they could score against Tampa when they scored three times in the last match. Jonathan Toews will be a player to watch.
Toews has a career 57 percent faceoff win percentage and he is hitting a little over that mark this season. If Toews and the other centers on the Blackhawks can win faceoffs, it can give Chicago the extra possession needed to overtake the high-powered Tampa Bay offense. Also, the Hawks need to do a better job blocking in front of their goalie. Chicago faced 44 shots last night, and any repetition would spell disaster. In addition to that, the Hawks have to hit more. The Lightning has such a loaded team that throwing them off their game is the only way to counter. However, the Hawks have to play smart and not commit penalties. Additionally, they must take advantage of Tampa Bay’s penalty issues. The Lightning rank 31st in penalty minutes.
To summarize, the Blackhawks will cover the spread if they win faceoffs, shoot more, block shots and get some opportunities on the power-play. Also, Kane and Debrincat must play well and power Chicago’s offense.
Why The Lightning Could Cover The Spread
Tampa Bay has won by two or more goals in the last four home games against Chicago dating back to the start of the 2021 season. During the 2021 season, the two teams were in the same division. Because of this, Chicago and Tampa Bay faced off eight times. In all four games at Amelie Arena, the Lightning pummeled the Blackhawks. The teams met earlier this season at the United Center and the Lightning routed the Hawks 6-3.
In that game, Victor Hedman carried the Lightning with two goals, including a game-tying goal in the second period. Tampa Bay controlled the game by winning their face-offs, shooting more, and blocking shots. While Kane did score a goal against the Lightning, it was not enough to match the six Tampa Bay scored on Chicago. Vasilevskiy did not have the best game stopping 24 shots and allowing three goals. However, it was enough to win.
The Lightning will cover the spread if they can win the face-offs, shoot more and block shots. Stamkos leads the team with 30 goals and Hedman has 40 assists. Kucherov, Point, and Alex Killorn support the offense and give Tampa Bay enough firepower to win even if the goalie and defense fall short.
Final Blackhawks-Lightning Prediction & Pick
It is difficult to believe that these teams fought in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. While the Lightning has maintained its excellence, the Blackhawks have fallen on hard times. Moreover, the Hawks played last night and will start goalie Kevin Lankinen who is having a difficult season. In contrast to that, the Lightning played on Tuesday night. The amount of rest will be the difference. Expect the Lightning to do what the Panthers did last night and score a lot. Ultimately, this means that Tampa Bay will cover the spread.
Final Blackhawks-Lightning Prediction & Pick: Lightning -1.5 (-140)