Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They haven’t played their best game just yet. The Blackhawks haven’t been too aggressive in terms of offense in this series, which is a surprising criticism consider they scored nine goals in the first two games. The reality is that the Blackhawks just aren’t getting enough pucks to the net. They had 21 in Game 1, 21 in Game 2 and 19 in Game 3. We’re talking about a team that finished third in the NHL this season with 33.1 shots per game. They need to ramp it up.
Ilya Bryzgalov played pretty well in Game 3 but he’s still frail. If the Blackhawks shoot more, they’ll definitely score more - as evidenced in Games 1 and 2 – and they’ll be able to take a 3-1 series lead.
The Minnesota Wild
Can Win Because…
They’ve regained momentum. Home-ice advantage has been very valuable to the Wild all season long and that’s proven to be the case in the postseason. They were 26-10-5 at home during the regular season and just 17-17-7 on the road. In the playoffs, it’s been night and day in their home and away splits, and Game 3 proved just as much. Game 4 should be more of the same.
The Wild are now 4-0 at home this postseason and have given up just three goals in those four contests. On the road, they are 1-5 and have allowed more than four goals per game. Look for them to feed off the crowd again in Game 4 and to even up the series.
Outlook & Pick
It’s not often that the Blackhawks offense is muzzled. Look for them to wake up in Game 4, starting putting more pucks at the net and, as a result, to light the lamp more frequently. I’ll take them with my NHL picks to sneak one out in Game 4.
Hockey Pick: Blackhawks -120 at TheGreek