CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS (8-2-2, 18 points)
at TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (5-5-2, 12 points)
Puck drops: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Tampa Bay -115, Chicago -105, Total: 5.5
The streaking Blackhawks look to continue their winning ways when they visit a Lightning team with a home streak of their own.
Chicago has won three straight games and is tied with Edmonton for the best record in the Western Conference at 8-2-2. Tampa Bay has won three consecutive home games by a combined 8-1 score, with the last two wins coming by shutouts. But it will be difficult to blank the Hawks who have scored 3+ goals in nine of 12 games this season and currently rank fourth in the NHL in scoring at 3.2 GPG. Despite shutting out their past two visitors, the Lightning have allowed 4+ goals in half of their games this year, and currently place 26th in goals allowed (3.1). The pick here is slight underdog CHICAGO to get the victory.
This three-star FoxSheets trend also supports the Blackhawks to win on the road:
CHICAGO is 13-2 ATS (86.7%, +10.8 Units) in road games after 5 straight games with 30 or more shots on goal over the last 3 seasons. The average score was CHICAGO 4.0, OPPONENT 2.0 - (Rating = 3*).
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford is expected back in net on Friday after saving a season-high 41 shots in Thursday’s win at Florida. He lost both meetings with Tampa Bay last year, but posted a strong 1.93 GAA in the pair of defeats. Patrick Kane scored the lone shootout goal in the win over the Panthers, and looks to add to his success against Tampa Bay. In five career meetings with the Lightning, Kane has three goals, six assists and a +5 rating.
Another player who has enjoyed facing Tampa is defenseman Duncan Keith, who has four points (1 G, 3 A) in six lifetime meetings. Keith did not play Thursday because of a left hand injury, but he could return back on the ice Friday. Keith, who had 22 points on the power play last year, will look to bolster a Chicago unit that has the league’s second-worst success rate with the man advantage, converting on just 8.7% of their power-play chances this season.
Tampa Bay has also struggled a bit on the power play, converting 4-of-32 of its opportunities since the season opener. On the flip side, the penalty-kill unit has been stellar since allowing five PP goals to Florida on Oct. 17. Since that game, the Lightning have killed off 14-of-15 penalties. Steven Stamkos has a point in each of his four games at St. Pete Times Forum, but the Lightning continue to be led in scoring by a defenseman, Marc-Andre Bergeron, who has tallied 13 points.
Dwayne Roloson is expected to start in between the pipes, hopeful to earn his fourth straight win against Chicago. However, Roloson has a subpar 3.16 GAA during this win streak against Friday’s opponent. The other option in goal is Mathieu Garon who hasn’t played since getting pulled from a start on Oct. 27. But he has been dreadful against Chicago with a 4.04 GAA during a five-start losing skid to the Hawks.