Fade Kings vs. Blackhawks in Game 1

Ross Benjamin

Sunday, May 18, 2014 12:48 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 18, 2014 12:48 PM UTC

Our resident sports picks expert Ross Benjamin has gone 18-8 with his last 26 NHL picks. Read his analysis on the opening game of the series between Los Angeles/Chicago which is concluded with his free pick.

Couple of Familiar Playoff Foes
The Blackhawks will host the Kings on Sunday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois with the opening face-off slated for 3:05 PM ET. This will be the opening game of the Western Conference Finals. According to NHL betting odds Chicago is a -150 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0.This will also be a rematch of last season's Conference Finals that was won in 5-games by Chicago. These two teams have been the Stanley Cup champions in each of the last 2 years, with Chicago winning in 2013, and Los Angeles in 2012. This will mark the 3rd consecutive year that the Kings have appeared in the Western Conference Finals. Chicago has defeated Los Angeles in 19 of the last 26 meetings, including all 3 games played during the regular season, and has won the last 5 in a row played at home versus the Kings.


Kings Playoff Battle Tested
The Los Angeles Kings are once again making a deep playoff run. During the last 3 postseasons they've won 8 of the 9 playoff series. Their only loss during that sequence came at the hands of their current opponent the Chicago Blackhawks. During the last 3 postseasons the Kings have compiled a record of 33-19. They've played more playoff games over the last 3 seasons than any other team in the NHL.

Consecutive 7-Game Series Winners
The Kings have had the rarest, and most unusual plight during this playoff run than I can ever recall. The opening round of the postseason saw them rebound from a 3-0 deficit versus San Jose, and win the next 4-games to capture the series, thus becoming just the 4th team in Stanley Cup Playoffs history to accomplish that feat. In the Conference Semifinals they jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Anaheim by winning both of those games on the road, proceeded to lost the next 3, and presumably let the Ducks off the proverbial hook, only to bounce back in typical Kings fashion by winning the final 2-games which enabled them to advance to this point.

Championship Grit by the Hawks
Chicago has certainly showed its championship grit in winning their first 2 playoff series in 2014. Their opening round saw them lose the first 2-games at St. Louis in gut wrenching fashion. Both losses occurred in overtime, and saw the Blues tie each contest with a goal late in the 3rd period. However, the Hawks wouldn't be deterred, nor denied, as they rebounded by winning the next 4-games, and advanced to a Conference Semifinal showdown with the Minnesota Wild. The upstart Wild gave the Hawks all they can handle before succumbing in 6-games. Chicago has gone a perfect 6-0 at home through the first 2 rounds of the playoffs, and is an outstanding 32-14 overall at the United Center this season. The goaltending of Cory Crawford has been spectacular for the Hawks this postseason. Crawford has posted a stellar 1.97 GAA and .931 save percentage in 12 starts.

NHL Betting System
Play against any money line road underdog of +100 to +150 that's playing with same season revenge stemming from a home loss by 2-goals or more, and they're coming off a division road win. When playing against the road team in this exact scenario you would be 46-13 (78%) the last 18 seasons.

Free Pick: Chicago -150 over Los Angeles

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