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NHL Odds: Wings vs. Hawks

It’s hard to top an Original Six NHL betting matchup, so we can expect the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks to get plenty of action at sportsbooks leading up to their battle on Friday night.

The natural inclination for oddsmakers, bettors, and Jonathan Toews fans will be to lean Chicago’s way; however, this series has been wacky of late. The road team has won the last five meetings on NHL odds and the Red Wings have won the last three meetings at sportsbooks like Bovada.

Detroit enters its road matchup fairly hot, having won three of its last four and scored four-plus goals in all three of those victories. The Wings are also 8-3-1 on the road this season and 3-0-1 over their last four away from Joe Louis Arena, having won at New Jersey, Anaheim, and San Jose over that span.

Distributed offense continues to be the key for the Detroit Red Wings, as four different players have double-digit goal totals. And that doesn’t even factor in Nicklas Lidstrom’s phenomenal play from the back end this season. He has 26 points in 30 games and scored a hat trick against St. Louis on Wednesday night.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are in survival mode with Patrick Kane and  Marian Hossa injured; they’ve lost three straight games, albeit to tough competition in San Jose and Colorado (twice). Team captain Toews has three points over his last two games but can only do so much. The Blackhawks’ chances on NHL betting don’t look very safe right now.

Don’t look now – but are NHL odds trending upward for the Toronto Maple Leafs? The league’s favorite whipping boys had won four of their last six games entering Thursday’s battle with Calgary and beat three of the Eastern Conference’s top five seeds last week. They’re 27th in the league in scoring but tallied at least three goals in all four of their wins during their hot stretch. They also welcomed captain Dion Phaneuf back to their lineup against Edmonton this week and he chipped in a goal.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a tough task on Saturday night against a Vancouver Canucks team that beat them once already this season. Bettors at places like Bovada could make a case that the Vancouver Canucks are the NHL’s best all-around team. They lead the NHL in power-play percentage and faceoff percentage; they’re fourth in goals per game; they’re seventh in penalty killing; and they’re eighth in goals-against average.

As has been the key to Vancouver’s resurgence over the last few seasons, it’s gotten balanced scoring. We all know the Sedin twins are dominant but it helps when a guy like Ryan Kesler can chip in a hat trick from the second line – as he did against Columbus on Wednesday night. As strong as the Leafs have looked lately, winning at Vancouver is a tall order.