Blackhawks outlasted Ducks with a triple-overtime win in Game 2. Now they’ve stolen home-ice advantage and the series will shift back to Chicago for Game 3. Who’ll cash on the NHL odds in this one?
The Anaheim Ducks Can Win Because…
The NHL odds favorite for this game 3, the Blackhawks, are rolling just four defensemen and that’s going to catch up with them. Chicago played Niklas Hjalmarsson 47:35, Duncan Keith 49:51, Johnny Oduya 46:06 and Brent Seabrook 47:46 in the triple-overtime win of Game 2 but they played Kimmo Timonen just 16:45 and Kyle Cumiskey 18:34. That’s an insane amount of hockey for their top-four to be playing and the worst part is that they will have a very quick one-day rest and then get right back at in Game 3.
The other issue is that the Ducks are pounding the Blackhawks in terms of hits. They outhit them 44-34 in Game 1 and 71-45 in Game 2. That’s going to ware on the Blackhawks as the series goes on and that fatigue could kick in as early as Game 3.
Anaheim just needs to avoid the penalty box. The Blackhawks scored two of their three goals on the power play in Game 2 and so far this series, they have just two goals at even strength. If Anaheim can cut those down, they’ll be in great shape to steal Game 3.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
Their offense is going to play better. The Blackhawks still haven’t gotten a ton out of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in this series, and you know they’ll eventually get it going. They are not going to be shut down the entire time. Coming back home should help their case.
Beyond that, home-ice advantage should be a big factor in this series as the Ducks have been noticeably weaker on the road this postseason than they have been at home. They are giving up 3.0 goals per game on the road in the playoffs compared to just 1.43 at home. That’s a big difference. On top of that, remember that the Blackhawks have yet to lose on their home ice this postseason, so that’s a huge edge.
On top of that, they are rolling in with momentum after that huge Game 2 win. Look for that to carry over into Game 3 as they protect their home-ice advantage.
This is a tough game to handicap mostly because we don’t know how the Blackhawks will respond on the blue line. They simply have to get more ice time to their third pairing or their top-four will be out of gas by the time this series hits Games 5, 6 and 7. At any rate, I’ll avoid the NHL betting lines in terms of a play on the side and focus on the total here. We’ve got a low total of five and the first two games hit that number. I expect more goals in Game 3 as both teams are going to be a bit worn down and potentially sloppy, and we have already seen that the Ducks defense and goaltending isn’t as strong on the road as it is at home. That being the case, go over with this NHL pick.