The Chicago Blackhawks were dominated in Game 1 of the Western Conference final as they lost by a count of 4-1. Can they get back on track in Game 2 and cash on the NHL lines?
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They should be able to play better in Game 2. For starters, they came out guns a blazing in Game 1 with 16 shots on in the first period and even though Patrick Kane had an open-net opportunity, they still found themselves down by a goal after one. Chances are if they play the same way to start Game 2, they’ll be much better.
The Blackhawks also need to find a way to do better on the power play. Typically, this is a strength for the team but they failed to generate much offense in three opportunities. They went scoreless but they also didn’t threaten that much either. That unit needs to play better.
And speaking of needing to play better, the Blackhawks top guns need to do exactly that. Jonathan Toews had no points and was a -2, so was Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane. Duncan Keith had no points and was a -3. Those guys should be better in Game 2.
The Anaheim Ducks Can Win Because…
They already showed what they’re capable. They’re bigger, they’re deeper and they have home-ice advantage. Those are big factors. The Ducks really muscled around the Blackhawks in Game 1 as they outhit them by 10 and showed their size. They also showed their depth as they received only one point in total from Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, yet they still managed to get four goals. Eight different Ducks recorded a point in Game 1. The other issue is that with the Ducks home-ice advantage, they continue to matchup Ryan Kesler against Chicago’s top unit. Kane and Toews were very quiet in Game 1 as Kesler continued to thwart them. Game 2 is still in Anaheim, so the Ducks will continue with that matchup.
Also, it’s worth noting that Frederik Andersen not only played well in Game 1 but outplayed his counterpart, Corey Crawford. Andersen made plenty of key saves – including 16 in the first period alone – and finished with 32 saves on 33 shots (.970 save percentage). As for Corey Crawford, he was a letdown with just 23 saves on 26 shots (.885 save percentage). If the Ducks have this edge, they’ll not only win Game 2 but they’ll win the series too.
This figures to be a seven-game series, so settle in and get comfortable. That being the case, look for the Blackhawks to find a way through Andersen and to eventually tie up this series in Game 2. I originally said that I expect Chicago to get at least one of these two games and I’ll stick with that prediction. For your NHL picks, take them in Game 2 to cash in as an underdog on the NHL betting odds and even this thing up.
NHL Pick: Blackhawks +120 at The Greek