The Anaheim Ducks won Game 3 of the Western Conference final and in doing so, became the first team in the 2014-15 playoffs to win at the United Center. Can they match that feat again in Game 4 to cash on the NHL odds and go up 3-1 in the series?
The Anaheim Ducks Can Win Because…
They seem to have the Blackhawks number. Although some people felt that the Ducks really didn’t belong at this table, the truth is that they’ve shed their label of being a postseason underachiever and they’ve been the better of the two teams through three games. Anaheim could really be up 3-0 at this point and if they play their game, they likely will be in Game 4 so keep this in mind when looking at the NHL odds.
The Blackhawks are down to just four blue liners as they are riding the hell out of Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya are logging the lion’s share of the minutes. The third pairing only played 6:50 and 8:51, whereas the big four each played at least 19:01.
As this series goes on, the Ducks are going to wear down the Blackhawks. They’ve pounded them every game, including Game 3 where they outhit them 45-27. The longer this series goes, the clearer it is becoming is that the Ducks are deeper, they are stronger and they have the better goaltender. Home-ice advantage didn’t matter much in Game 3. What makes the difference in Game 4?
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
This is do-or-die for them. Remember, Chicago is an experienced, Stanley Cup-winning team who knows what it takes. Rest assured that they’ll bring their ‘A’ game in Game 4 and make sure that this series heads back to Anaheim tied up at two games apiece.
The Blackhawks had ample opportunities to take advantage in Game 3 but they simply came up short. They had a whopping five power plays but failed to score a single time. This is a team that had scored seven times on 33 power plays in the playoffs, so going 0-for-5 is an aberration. Don’t expect that to happen again.
The truth is that this has been a nip-tuck series and the Blackhawks just haven’t got their chances to go. Case and point: Kane’s shot that grazed the post with seconds remaining in Game 3. It’s been that type of series for Chicago so far: close, but no cigar. If they can get a few good bounces, they’ll be able to take Game 4 and even things up.
The Blackhawks should win Game 4 but I have no interest in laying this type of juice. It’s too much and the games are so close that Anaheim could steal it. Anaheim is wearing on them and their physicality should pay off the longer this series goes. I expect Game 4 to be another close game but with both goaltenders playing so well – especially Frederik Andersen – I expect another low scoring affair. Go under with your NHL picks in this one.
NHL Pick: Under 5 at WagerWeb