Florida Panthers at Chicago Blackhawks

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The reeling Blackhawks have lost four in a row and in a Central Division matchup play host to the Panthers, who have dropped two of their last three games.

Before losing two of their last three games the Panthers had won four in a row, which included two wins over the Blackhawks. The team is in second place in the Central four points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning and 11 points clear of the Blackhawks. Florida ranks third in the league in goals per game and tallied 10 goals in the two recent wins over Chicago.

The Blackhawks have hit the skids as of late losers of four in a row and six of their last seven games. The team is now in fifth place in the Central 15 points back of Tampa Bay. The defense has been the issue for Chicago on the season and in their four-game skid they have given up 18 goals.

Keep It Up On in the Windy City

The Panthers have won all four games facing the Blackhawks this season with all of them in the Sunshine State. They were on the road in the last game losing to the Tampa Bay Lighting 5-3 where they gave up three goals in the third period. Carter Verhaeghe, Gustav Forsling, and Patric Hornqvist all scored in the losing effort and two of the goals came on the power play.

Sergei Bobrovsky (12-4-2 2.97 GAA) stopped 19 of 23 shots and Florida has lost his last two starts where he has given up six goals. Chris Driedger (8-3-2 2.22 GAA) may get the start against the Blackhawks and he is coming off a shutout win in his last start.

Aleksander Barkov ranks tied for fifth in the league in points (37) and is one of six players for the balanced Panthers’ offense that has scored double digits in goals. He has been playing well as of late with four goals and three assists over his last five games. On the season Florida is a solid 10-3-1 on the road.

Can’t Crack the Champions

In the last two games, the Blackhawks were on the road and lost to the defending champion Lightning where they were outscored 8-3. In the last game, they lost 4-1 where they were down 4-0 before Alex DeBrincat netted his 16th of the season to avoid the shutout. Malcolm Subban (4-4-1 3.14 GAA) took the loss in the game giving up four goals on 29 shots and he was lit up for six goals in his previous start. #1 G Kevin Lankinen (10-7-4 2.87 GAA) will likely get the start against the Panthers and Chicago has lost his last three starts where he gave up 11 goals.

Patrick Kane ranks third in the NHL with 42 points and DeBrincat ranks tied for fourth with 17 goals. Kane has a goal and three assists in his last five games and DeBrincat has two goals and an assist in his last five games. This season the Blackhawks are 7-4-2 at home.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

Not only have the Blackhawks struggled on defense for the season but in their four losses to the Panthers this season they gave up 20 goals. Not good to play poor D against a Florida team that has many scoring options and ranks third in the league in goals per game. All of Chicago’s losses to the Panthers this season were in Florida, but the Panthers have been a more than solid road team this season. The Panthers will pour on the offense against facing a Blackhawks’ team that has given up 18 goals in losing their last four games. Florida will get the win in the Windy City in this one and send Chicago to their fifth straight loss.

Panthers -150

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Full-Game Total Pick

In the four games between these teams this season the Over record is 3-0-1 and I am going to stick with that trend for this game. Chicago has given up 18 goals in their four-game losing streak and in the four losses to the Panthers this season they have given up 20 goals. Florida ranks third in the NHL in goals per game and while they have not been killing it on the attack in the last few games they will do so in this one. I do not see them pitching a shutout either and this will be a higher scoring game where the Over is the pick.

Over 6 goals