Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes Expert NHL Predictions

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Carolina Hurricanes Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP

Can the Blackhawks serve up an upset over the Hurricanes when the pair collide in a pivotal Central Division showdown that is laden with title implications?

If the NHL odds were any indication, it’s a resounding No. The Carolina Hurricanes are the runaway faves to win straight up over the Chicago Blackhawks and for good reason. The Hurricanes are not only riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak down the stretch, but they’re also currently the best team in the NHL right now. Leading the entire field with a 35-10-7 mark and 77 points, two points ahead of their nearest rivals Florida Panthers, three points ahead of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and four points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning in league-wide standings.

If the Blackhawks were to pull off the upset, it would be quite the stunning result. However, no two teams could be enjoying more contrasting fortunes than these two, meaning it’s a big ask. The Blackhawks have lost five on the trot, including a 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes at the PNC on Monday night. If anything, given how lacklustre Chicago’s recent effort has been, it’s fair to say that the Blackhawks have the look of a team that has already tapped out.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Tuesday, May 5, 2021, 7:00 PM ET – PNC Arena, Carolina

Chicago Blackhawks Eliminated

The Chicago Blackhawks have nothing to play for save pride here and, maybe even, at being spoilsports. Recent form points to no such possibility though. The Blackhawks are cut a woeful figure with a 3-6-1 mark in their last ten games and they were officially eliminated from the playoffs in the 5-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Overall, it’s been a rough slog in 2020 for the once proud franchise as for the fifth year in a row Chicago is set to miss the playoffs. Ever since winning the Stanley Cup in 2015, the Blackhawks have been more or less on a steady decline. The Blackhawks are sitting pretty in sixth-place with a 22-24-6 mark and 50 points on the season, a record that includes a 12-11-3 mark at home and a 10-13-3 mark on the road. Only four games remain on the season, two against the Carolina Hurricanes (part of a three-game series) and two against Florida Panthers. It’s going to be a rough few days…

The Blackhawks were slow out of the gates in Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes, conceding two unanswered goals in the first period without too much fuss. In the final two periods, they conceded another three goals while putting up a half-hearted goal in each period. Dominik Kubalik led the team with two points thanks to a couple of assists while Alex DeBrincat and Ian Mitchell scored a goal each. In total, the Blackhawks put up merely 17 shots on goal.

Hurricanes On A Roll

The Hurricanes are 35-10-7 with 77 points, which puts them at the top of the Central Division standings with two games in hand over their nearest rivals the Florida Panthers. The Tampa Bay Lightning, however, are in the thick of it – albeit four points behind Carolina. Sebastian Aho had a right cracking night scoring a hattrick while Dougie Hamilton and Martin Necas added a goal each. Alex Nedeljkovic faced little attacking intent from the Blackhawks, as evinced by his stats – he made 15 of 17 saves for a .882 save percentage.

It was another complete performance by the Hurricanes who have been a model of consistency this season. They’ve scored three goals or more in eight of their last ten games continuing their excellence on offense. In the meanwhile, defense and goaltending have been solid of late too. Overall, the Hurricanes are a stellar 19-3-4 at home and 16-7-3 on the road while they’ve outscored opponents 171-123 for a +48-point differential.

NHL Predictions and Picks

The Blackhawks might be eager to get a win over the Hurricanes for the sake of pride or to just throw a spanner in the works. What with the Hurricanes in line for the Divisional title and top seed in the NHL, it would be a devasting upset to say the least if the Blackhawks were to pull it off. However, if the Blackhawks are going to accomplish such a feat, they’ll need to play much better game than they did last night.

Starting with getting more shots on goal, perhaps. Chucking a half-hearted 17 shots at Carolina is hardly going to cut it. Not when Carolina is driving truckloads of shots at the other end of the ice, besieging opposing goals with their relentless pressure and attack. In Chicago’s case, that’s a problem as both defenes and goaltending have let the team down. All told, anything can happen on any given night. That becomes something to consider when the turnaround is as short as it is here: less than 24 hours later. Having said that the Carolina Hurricanes are simply the better team right now, the more motivated team, and the one that has more invested in sealing the victory.

The moneyline doesn’t offer any value for those looking to bet on Carolina but the puckline does. Back the Hurricanes to put in another commanding performance over the Blackhawks.

NHL Picks: Carolina Hurricanes -1.5 (+102) with Heritage