NHL Hockey Betting: Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks

Added May 15, 2015 by Levi Watkins

The Western Conference Finals begin on Sunday as the hometown Anaheim Ducks take on the Chicago Blackhawks for the right to meet the winner of the Eastern Conference matchup between the Rangers and Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams have been very strong so far in the postseason. The Ducks swept the upstart Winnipeg Jets(admittedly thanks to some good luck in key points) followed by a five game dismissal of the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks got a solid effort from an injury plagued Nashville team before eliminating them in six games. They followed that up with a four game annihilation of the Minnesota Wild who came into the series looking like they could provide some decent opposition for the Blackhawks.

Both teams are in decent shape coming in to this series. Anaheim’s Corey Perry is trying to recover from a knee issue but is expected to play in Game One despite not practicing all week. Chicago will be without defenseman Michal Rozsival for the rest of the playoffs but the important thing for the Hawks is the good health of their offensive stars including Patrick Kane who missed a chunk of the regular season. On paper, the Blackhawks have the better defense though Frederick Andersen has been solid for the Ducks in their run to the conference finals. The Blackhawks did some musical chairs in net during the Nashville series but Corey Crawford has moved back in to the starting spot and was very good in the series against the Wild.

So despite a perception in the hockey media that the Ducks are vastly superior to the Blackhawks this is a coinflip. In fact, there’s a case to be made that the Blackhawks are the better team. Statistically, the Hawks had the #2 defense in the NHL this season and won 3 of the 4 meetings with the Ducks–including both games in Anaheim. Chicago has won 3 of the last 4 games at the Honda Center so they definitely won’t be intimidated by not having home ice advantage. We haven’t been sold on the Ducks all season long and in theory the best way to beat a big, physical team is with fast skaters and talented playmakers. The Blackhawks have plenty of those and should get this series off to a good start.


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