Win or Take All
The Blackhawks host the Kings on Sunday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois with the opening face-off scheduled for 8:05 p.m. E.T. This will be the deciding Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. According to NHL betting odds Chicago is a -165 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0. The winner tonight will earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals to take on the New York Rangers. The NHL executive offices have to be ecstatic with 3 major United States markets in the still alive at this time of the year, not to mention NBC who owns the national television rights.
Masters of Avoiding Elimination
The Los Angeles Kings are on the brink of elimination for the first time in this series. However, this is hardly anything new to them during this postseason. The Kings have already gone an incredible 6-0 during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs in games they were facing elimination. They became just the 4th time in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in their opening round series versus the San Jose Sharks. They proceeded to overcome a 3-2 series deficit in the Conference Semifinals versus the Anaheim Ducks who were the top seed in the West. The Kings will also be attempting to become the first team ever to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, after winning 3 consecutive series that each went the full 7-games. This will be the 3rd time during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs that the Kings will play a deciding Game 7 on the road. They won the previous two over Anaheim and San Jose by a cumulative score of 11-3.
Heart of a Champion
The Chicago Blackhawks will look to win a playoff series by overcoming a 3-1 deficit for the 2nd consecutive year in a row. During the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals they also trailed the Detroit Red Wings 3-1, before they rallying to win. As a matter of fact, the Blackhawks have overcome series deficits in 4 of their previous 6 series, and with a win tonight it would make 5 of the last 7. They will enter tonight having gone 8-1 at home during the 2014 postseason, and their only hiccup came in Game 2 of this series during a 6-2 loss at the hands of the Kings. Chicago also overcame a 1-goal deficit in the 3rd period during each of the previous 2-games. They will need that same level of resiliency and tenacity tonight if they're to advance to their 2nd consecutive Stanley Cup Final.
These teams have now gone 'over' the total in 5 consecutive games heading into tonight. The oddsmakers seem unfazed, as the total will once again be 5.0 for tonight's game. Neither Cory Crawford or Jonathan Quick has played nowhere near their capabilities in this series. Especially considering both goaltenders were instrumental in helping their teams win each of the previous 2 Stanley Cups. Once in a while I lean on my professional intuition in my NHL picks, and ignore the the statistical data that supports the exact opposite. I look for both goaltenders to be on top of their games, and both teams to be attentive to detail in their defensive zones. This one plays on the low side of the ledger.
NHL Betting System
Any home team that averages 2.9 or more goals per game, and they've gone 'over' the total in their previous 5 or more games in a row, versus an opponent that averages between 2.5 to 2.9 goals per game, has gone 'under' the total in 64 of 96-games (66.7%) during the last 18 seasons.
Free NHL Pick: Los Angeles/Chicago to go 'under' the total of 5.0