The Bruins stunning sweep of Pittsburgh sets the stage for a Stanley Cup showdown with the Western Conference champion Chicago Blackhawks. Let’s find the NHL odds value in Wednesday night’s Game 1.
Swinging Johnson - NHL Record (13-8-1, +17.15 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
We knew that Game 7 between the Blackhawks and the reigning Stanley Cup champion LA Kings would be a flip of the coin. I decided that laying the -230 in the NHL odds on the heavily favored Wings was simply too much to stomach but couldn’t see sending it in on the Kings either. I decided the best course of action would be to isolate a play on the total and envisioned a tight checking affair that would see both goalies razor sharp and goals scarce.
Well call me Pucktradamus because my quatrain went a little something like this.
The reigning Kings shall struggle to keep their crowns in 2013
The painted marauders from the North lay in wait, United and Center
On the 29th day of the fifth month the final battle is waged
Ultimate victory is won as the Hawks triumphantly circle the abdicated throne
Okay, so I wasn’t quite that dramatic, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night. The bottom line for all the SJ disciples is that the Hawks wrapped up the series with a 2-1 victory and I had 4 units on Under 5 in that fifth and final game. I am now 13-8-1 in my NHL picks and have added 17.5 units to the coffers. We’re on a good run boys, let’s keep it up!
The Beatles sang, All you need is love but I say all the Bruins needed was rest and they’ve gotten plenty of it since that historic seven-game series with the Maple Leafs in the first round. They dispatched the Rangers in five games and stunned the world by sweeping the top rated Penguins. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks survived a brutal semifinal round that went the distance with the Red Wings and then toughed it out with a 4-1 series victory over the Kings.
So who do we like and why? I would suggest Game 1 is a microcosm of the entire series because if you believe the underdog Bruins, installed as +130 series underdogs at most online sportsbooks, will win then you have to reason that they must take at least one of the first two games in Chicago.
The Bruins will take Game 1 because they are facing a team that is in many respects similar to Pittsburgh. And please don’t make the case that Pittsburgh had no goaltending. Marc-Andre Fleury is a second-rate tender but Tomas Voukon played as well as any above average goaltender. If you consider his numbers over the postseason versus Corey Crawford, the numbers are strikingly similar particularly in save percentage (.933 vs. .935).
Yes, Crawford is better. Yes, the Blackhawks defense is better but the Bruins and goaltender Tuukka Rask have been the proverbial brick wall. There is now a synergy with the Bruins that is impossible to quantify and they will dominate physically as the Blackhawks are all finesse and little brawn. I will not take the Blackhawks for granted and will scale back my unit size thusly. However, I like the 2013 edition of the Big Bad Bruins to win Game 1 and the series in six games.Play the Bruins +140 for 3 units in Game 1 of our NHL picks at Bet365.com