NHL Hockey Betting: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning

Added May 31, 2015 by Levi Watkins

The Stanley Cup Finals begin on Wednesday night in Tampa, Florida as the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of their best of seven series. The Lightning are making their second trip to the finals in franchise history–they won the Stanley Cup in 2004. The Chicago Blackhawks have definitely been here before. The ‘Original Six’ franchise has won five Stanley Cups including two in the past six seasons.

Both teams are coming off of hard fought seven game series. The Lightning took a 3-2 lead into Game Six on home ice but blew a chance to eliminate the Rangers in front of their fans. Instead, they put on a gutsy performance in Game Seven winning with stout defense and beating the Rangers 2-0 at Madison Square Garden. New York’s defense was supposed to be vastly superior to the Lightning and the matchup between Henrik Lundqvist and Ben Bishop in net was *supposed* to be a mismatch. It didn’t quite workout that way and Ben Bishop even outplayed ‘King Henry’ in Game Seven earning the ‘first star’ designation.

Chicago took a different path to the finals–at the outset of their series against the Anaheim Ducks it looked as if they were on their way to an early summer vacation. The Ducks’ size and physical play took the Blackhawks out of their game though Chicago did well to ‘tread water’ in the first four games. After losing Game Five in Anaheim, however, it was all Chicago–the Blackhawks looked to have finally figured out how to use their superior skill and speed. Chicago won Games Six and Seven by a combined score of 10-5 and it wasn’t even as close as that lopsided scoreline indicates.

The Lightning are definitely a ‘team of the future’ but they’re going to have a tough time in this series. Tampa Bay might have been able to beat Anaheim the same way Chicago did but now they’re facing a team that play at their preferred pace and style–only better. The Lightning have no answer for the Hawks’ depth, versatility and experience. Chicago wins their sixth Stanley Cup championship starting with a victory in Game One.


You might also like: