NHL Hockey Betting: Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks

Added June 10, 2015 by Levi Watkins

The media has a tendency to jump on and off bandwagons with amazing rapidity, but the reality is that this is a ‘must win’ game for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight. All three games have been very tough but Tampa holds a 2-1 lead and the last thing that Chicago wants is to head back to Florida down 3-1 and facing elimination. Sure, the Blackhawks won’t roll over if that scenario transpires but it’s a very challenging situation for even the best team.

Not surprisingly, the price on this game reflects the ‘must win’ status for the Blackhawks. Despite the loss in Game Three, the Blackhawks are a slightly higher priced favorite here than in Game Three. Chicago has been extremely good when trailing in a playoff series–this year they’re a perfect 3-0 in that situation making them 10-3 in that spot over the past three seasons. Despite the handwringing and Lightning bandwagon jumping by the mainstream sports media, Chicago remains very confident and very dangerous. Their big ‘edge’ heading into this series was their postseason experience. This is only the Lightning’s second appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals and the first since the Stanley Cup win in 2003. Since no one from this team was around for that, this is essentially their first run. So far, however, this Blackhawks ‘advantage’ has not been evident. While the Lightning deserve a ton of credit for their poise in what has to be individually the biggest games of most of their players’ careers this is a spot where the Hawks’ experience could shine through.

Bottom line–this is a spot where many teams would panic. Chicago won’t. They’ll give this game full focus knowing that while going down 3-1 in the series isn’t desirable it’s not the end of the world. Chicago did a great job making incremental adjustments from game to game in the previous rounds of the playoffs. They should improve throughout this series as well. The thin and overworked defense is an issue but not as big of one as the NHL media is making it. Chicago wins here and ties the series heading back to Florida.


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