Chicago (50-22-8) at Anaheim (44-23-13)
When: Thursday, April 6th 2017
Where: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Time: 10:05 ET | TV: NBC Sports Network
The top two seeds in the Western Conference will square off on Thursday night as the Anaheim Ducks host the Chicago Blackhawks with just a couple of days left in the regular season. Chicago’s Artemi Panarin hit the 30-goal plateau for the second time in as many NHL seasons after scoring in his fifth straight game in Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado. The NHL First Star of the Week has scored six goals and set up another in his last five games. Panarin also recorded an assist in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 win over the Ducks on November 25th. Another young star in the making on the Chicago roster is rookie Ryan Hartman, who scored against the Avalanche to move within one of the 20-goal plateau. Hartman, who logs just 12:44 of ice time per game, also scored in the first meeting versus Anaheim this season. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane, who scored and set up a goal in the first meeting with the Ducks, has recorded 39 points (19 goals, 20 assists) since February 2nd. Chicago will close the season in Los Angeles against the Kings on Saturday.
The hottest team in the league could be the Ducks, who just took a home-and-home series against the Calgary Flames – their potential first round opponent. Anaheim is currently on a 12-game point streak (9-0-3) and are inching closer to a fifth-straight Pacific Division title. Patrick Eaves scored for the eighth time in nine games against Calgary and has 10 goals in 18 games since being acquired from Dallas, where he already had a career-high 21. Eaves has goals in three straight contests, but has recorded just on assist in five meetings against Chicago this season. All-Star Cam Fowler will be one of three Anaheim defensemen to miss Thursday’s game after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Calgary captain Mark Giordano. Fowler logs the most ice time on the Ducks at nearly 25 minutes per game. Fellow blue-liner Hampus Lindholm will sit out his third straight game with an upper-body injury while Korbinian Holzer returned to Germany on Wednesday to tend to a family issue. Defenseman Sami Vatanen declared himself set to go after missing two games with an upper-body ailment.
Chicago has been pretty good on the road lately, but the Ducks are unstoppable right now on offense and with Jonathan Bernier in net. Chicago has already clinched the Western Conference, but Anaheim needs another win to clinch the Pacific Division.
Pick: Ducks -120
HEAD TO HEAD
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