Tipster Ross Benjamin has gone an outstanding 20-10 with his last 30 Stanley Cup Playoff free picks right here at SBR. Read what he has to say about Game 3 Blackhawks vs. Kings, and apply his knowledge to your daily sports betting.
Western Conference Finals Rematch Tied 1-1
The Kings will host the Blackhawks on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California with the opening face-off slated for 8:05 PM ET. This will be Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals series that’s all tied up at 1-game apiece. According to NHL betting odds, the Kings are a -125 money line home favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. Chicago has defeated Los Angeles in 20 of their last 27 meetings, including 7 of the last 9 at the Staples Center. These teams have seen just 7 of their last 26 meetings go 'over' the total.
Kings Superb Character and Resiliency
The Los Angeles Kings character, and resiliency was once again displayed on Wednesday night in Chicago. Trailing 2-0 late in the 2nd period, and being thoroughly outplayed to that point, didn’t deter this battle tested team. The Kings cut the lead to 2-1 just before the 2nd intermission, then went on to score 5 unanswered goals in the 3rd period for a 6-2 win, and evened the series at 1-1.
The Kings have time, and time again, during the last 3 postseasons responded to adversity in an emphatic fashion. All you have to do is look at is the first 2 rounds of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs in order to witness an example of their intestinal fortitude. The opening round versus San Jose saw them become just the 4th team ever in the rich tradition of Stanley Cup playoff history to overcome a 3-0 series deficit, and walk away victorious. In the 2nd round versus Anaheim they squandered a 2-0 series lead they attained by winning the first 2-games on the road, proceeded to lose the next 3-games, then roared back to win the next 2-games, and for the 3rd year in a row earned a berth in the Western Conference Finals. The Kings have gone a perfect 6-0 in elimination games so far in this postseason.
Hawks Need to Regain the Hunger
It’s hard to criticize a team that won the Stanley Cup just a season ago, and finds themselves in the Conference Finals a year later. However, since their impressive opening round win over the St. Louis Blues, the Blackhawks have looked far from the team we saw in last season’s playoffs. They escaped with a 4-2 series win versus an upstart Minnesota Wild club in the Western Conference Semifinals, and many experts (including myself) felt they were outplayed by the Kings in the opening game of this series despite coming away with a 3-1 win.
Make no mistake about it: this is still a very dangerous Chicago team, with a plethora of offensive explosiveness, an agile and versatile defense corps, in addition to a proven money goaltender in Cory Crawford. Hopefully for Hawks fans, the Game 2 loss and 3rd period meltdown will serve as a wakeup call, and inspire their team to regain the hunger they displayed throughout the 2013 playoffs on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. Let truth be told, if they continue to perform at the level they’ve shown since the start of the Conference Semifinals, they won’t beat this Kings club that’s adept at exposing any or all current flaws of their opponents.
The Kings have garnered the momentum in this series with their impressive Game 2 comeback to even this series which earned them home ice advantage. There’s a looming negative factor that’s flown under the radar in regards to the Blackhawks. Chicago has struggled on the road for quite some time now. As a matter of fact, they’ve gone a dismal 8-20 in their last 28 road games, including just 2-4 during these playoffs. My lean for a solid hockey pick is toward the home side here, especially at such a reasonable price.
Free NHL Pick: Kings -125 over the Blackhawks