Blackhawks To Bounce Back vs. Blues So Back Them As NHL Pick

Doug Upstone

Friday, April 15, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 15, 2016 12:00 PM UTC

Doug Upstone made three picks a day in the NHL at this very location and produced a quality winning record and has started 2-1 with his selections as the postseason commences in 2016.

Chicago and St. Louis played a thoroughly entertaining Game 1 of their Stanley Cup series, with the Blues finally winning in OT 1-0. It was a peek as to how this series will start and now how adjustments will be made.

When looking at the daily NHL odds, this is the very essence as to how playoffs in professional sports work. You play the same team over a series of games and when you lose, the coaches and players have to understand what changes need to be made. If you won, you seek to tighten up elements that can be improved on and anticipate what your opponent might attack. Before making NHL picks today, know how each teams will attack the other.


Chicago Has To Pick Up Pace For Victory
The Blackhawks left the ice at the Scottrade Center wondering how they lost despite outshooting 35-18. Chicago had a number of very good chances to score on goalie Brian Elliott, but less than a handful of what would be thought of as "great" opportunities.

What coach Joel Quenneville will be preaching to his team is being smarter on the ice and not being in position to take so many hits. "Hits" are an NHL stat and the Blackhawks were outhit 41-24 by St. Louis in the series opener. Often these hits knock a player off stride or into the boards, which takes him out of the flow of the action or at the very least has him in trail position for offense or defense.

If Chicago avoids the hits, they could have one more player in the offensive end more often and that might be enough to make Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews more effective.

The return of Duncan Keith only makes the Hawks defense better and stronger.


St. Louis Has to Play the Same Game and be More Offensive-Minded
The Blues accomplished what they needed in Game 1, have Elliott stymie Chicago shooters, lay the wood to the Blackhawks by being physical and taking 32 of 59 faceoffs (54.2%) to help control the puck.

Elliott shutting out Chicago is impressive, yet the fact remains if the Kane's crew keeps averaging 30-plus shots a game in this series, the Hawks have too many talented goal scorers for St. Louis netminder to hang in under that barrage.

The Blues might be built for defense, but they will have no chance at the United Center or even tonight unless they possess the puck more and work harder on generating more scoring chances and possibly place their rivals on the defensive.

Otherwise, the same basic game plan is strong, take body with visitor as often as possible and land a few more ferocious hits like they did on the Hawks Artem Anisimov and Michal Rozsival, to make them wary, putting in the back of their minds somebody is always hunting them and they start thinking about that instead of following the puck and their assignments.


What to Expect and Winner
Chicago is still the champions until proven otherwise and I expect Quenneville and his club to make the changes that were talked about and be flying up and down the ice. As written about here at, home teams have won just a little over 55 percent in the opening rounds the last five years.

Watch for the Blackhawks to pressure St. Louis into miscues and do better than 0-5 on the power play like in Game 1 and score enough goals to go to 8-1 on the road after being shutout. The latest line check at BetonLine has the Blackhawks at +107 on NHL odds and I think that is the right way to go.

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NHL Pick: Blackhawks +104
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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