Swinging Johnson - NHL Record (10-6, +15.4 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
Exactly one week ago today was the last time I put pen to paper and waxed prophetic on not one, but two, of my NHL picks. Yes, it was Game 4 and my job was to peruse the NHL odds and deliver to you my loyal disciples, two lock-line winners. And voila! We cashed two units on the Rangers as they edged the Caps 4-3 and we banked four units on Boston as they took to the highway and defeated the Leafs.
Now I realize I'm gloating just a wee bit but consider that I am not only over 15 units to the good on the NHL season but I am not even including in that record the three series previews I wrote where I correctly predicted the winner of each (Rangers, Senators and Bruins). So it's all lollipops and sunshine here kids and we are looking to add to this bankroll by previewing Game 1 of the series between the vaunted Chicago Blackhawks and the just glad to be here Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings
When the Red Wings lost Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement, it appeared as though Detroit’s perennial appearance in the postseason could be in jeopardy.It turns out, the skeptics were right. The playoffs were in jeopardy until the Wings reeled off victories in their final four games to clinch the 7th seed and then upset the second-seeded Ducks to secure a date with the league leading Chicago Blackhawks.
But their stunning 3-2 road victory over Anaheim in Game 7 of the opening round is now history. Many would consider their appearance in the second round a victory unto itself. But Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg is the leader of a young group of core players finding a way to scratch, claw and score their way to postseason glory. The nine-year veteran will be the catalyst to any success they have against the layers of talent they will face tonight in Chicago. Zetterberg has heated up with three goals and five assists over the past three games, two of which were crucial Game 6 & 7 victories.
Are there any superlatives left for the most talented team in hockey? They steamrolled the Minnesota Wild in five games to advance to the second round and perhaps the only eyebrow raised in that series was their 3-2 loss in Game 3 at Minnesota. The Hawks are stacked and their statistics bear that out. Chicago was the top rated defense and proved stellar offensively averaging 3.1 goals per game, trailing only the Penguins.
In their five games versus the Wild, the Blackhawks continued to shine averaging 3.4 goals per game and watching the inimitable Corey Crawford post a sizzling 1.32 GAA to go along with a mind-numbing .950 save percentage. In other words, the Hawks win on offense and defense no matter who they play. That’s why they are the odds-on-favorites to hoist the Stanley Cup at season’s end.
Anyone adding the Red Wings to their sports picks in Game 1 either isn’t aware of the leviathan they’re facing in round two or is still intoxicated with Detroit’s opening round success against Anaheim. Chicago has won all four games this season over Detroit but they haven’t been cakewalks. Aside from a 7-1 blowout, the other three games were decided by only one goal so be careful if you’re inclined to reduce the juice and lay -1 ½. But remember, Chicago has been resting their weary bones since Thursday of last week while Detroit has been battling to avoid elimination up until just this past Sunday.
In this matchup we have a team as deeply layered and silky smooth as those 1200 thread count Egyptian cotton bed linens you plunk your bad self down on when you check into places like the Ritz Carlton or an oh so chic boutique hotel specializing in all things luxurious. The Blackhawks this season are the ritziest team this season and the only team that beats them…is them!
NHL Picks: Play Chicago -200 for 3 units at Bet365.com