The Los Angeles Kings Can Win Because…
Their offense is on fire. The Kings are rolling three dangerous lines in the series, and the Blackhawks have no answers.
The Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown-Marian Gaborik line is uncontrollable right now. Gaborik leads all playoff scorers with 10 goals, while Kopitar leads all playoff scorers with 22 points. Meanwhile, the second line of Jeff Carter-Tanner Pearson-Tyler Toffoli has been unconscious too. They’ve combined for 18 points this round. That leaves the checking line featuring Jarret Stoll, who wins practically every face-off.
This team allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season. When they’re offense is on like this, they can’t be stopped.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
Their backs are against the wall. The Blackhawks were in this position in the first round against the St. Louis Blues, and that brought the best out of them. Now, it’s do or die time for them, again, and they should be able to bring that sense of urgency once more.
The Blackhawks need to stop giving up power play goals. In five-on-five, they can compete. However, they’ve given up 15 goals in the last three games, and five (six if you count one where the Kings scored as the power play expired) were with the man-advantage. If you cut out empty-netters, the Kings have scored just eight goals at even strength in the last three games.
If Chicago plays better on special teams, they’ll survive.
Outlook & Pick
It’s hard to pick a side here with my NHL picks. The Blackhawks looked tapped out. They’re the defending champs and it looks like they don’t have the energy to repeat. The Kings have been outworking them for three games now. However, I don’t really want to bet against the Blackhawks at home. They’ve only lost once there this postseason.
Instead, I’ll bet the 'over.' The The Kings offense is on fire while the Blackhawks will need to get to three goals to win. I expect at least five markers in this contest.
Free NHL Pick: 'Over' 5 at the Greek Sportsbook