Chicago Blackhawks @ New York Rangers Free NHL Pick 2/16/12
Two teams that are clearly heading in opposite directions meet in NHL betting action on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, where the New York Rangers will look to add to the woes of the Chicago Blackhawks.
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When will this slide end? The Blackhawks have dropped nine games in a row, and they are dangerously all of a sudden on the verge of missing the playoffs in the Western Conference. This is the same type of problem that Chicago went through last season, and it proved that it had the guts to get into the second season right at the end of the regular season with a late flurry of wins, but this year, things feel a bit different. The Central Division is a heck of a lot better right now than it was last year, as teams like the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues are clearly amongst the top teams in the league. Chicago also just isn’t getting it right in its most important games. Sure, all but one of these losses came on the road, where the next two games are also going to be played, but to lose three times against Nashville in this stretch is just unforgiveable. Things need to change and change in a hurry, and if they don’t, there are going to have to be a heck of a lot of changes that need to be made from a personnel and perhaps a coaching standpoint as well before this season is totally lost.
The Rangers surely aren’t looking to make all that many changes. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference by a country mile, and they might have put a tremendous stamp on the fact that they are going to be the top seed in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference when they shut out the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on Tuesday night. It was a dominant effort on both sides of the ice, and New York proved that it had the offense to stick around with one of the best offensive teams in the league. On top of that, Henrik Lundqvist went shot for shot with last year’s Vezina Trophy winner, Tim Thomas, and he proved that he is going to be the man to beat this year in the playoffs. All of the pieces to the puzzle are just working right now for the Rangers, and the shutout of the Bruins was their fourth win in a row. The last three were over Boston, the Washington Capitals, and the Philadelphia Flyers (on the road, no less), and those wins have opened up this insane nine point lead on the rest of the field in the conference.
Chicago Blackhawks @ New York Rangers Pick: Here’s the only problem that we are going to have on Thursday night. The Rangers are going to be ridiculously overpriced. Playing at Madison Square Garden could be just the ticket to get the Blackhawks back on track, as they clearly played a good enough game to win on Tuesday against Nashville. If we can get a great price on the Hawks, we are going to be willing to back them, even against arguably the best team in hockey.
Free Hockey Pick: Chicago Blackhawks
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