Chicago Blackhawks (56-30-6) at Anaheim Ducks (59-24-8)
|Date & Time||Sunday May 17, 2015, 3:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Anaheim Ducks -132 / Chicago Blackhawks +118 --- Over/Under: 5
The Chicago Blackhawks visit the Honda Center to face the Anaheim Ducks to open the Western Conference finals.
The Western Conference championship has a familiar name in the mix as the Chicago Blackhawks are in the third round for the 5th time in seven years. Chicago has been on a tear with a 4-2 series win against Nashville before a surprisingly easy four game sweep of the Minnesota Wild. The Hawks big names have risen to the occasion once again with Patrick Kane burning the Wild for five goals while Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews have a combined 20 points in ten contests. Right now the Blackhawks are rolling with four solid lines although Joel Quenneville could easily change things up against Anaheim. Chicago had an unsettled situation in goal versus Nashville with Corey Crawford getting the hook in game one and playing spectator for most of the series before looking strong in a sweep of the Wild. The keys for the Blackhawks is to continue to get production from their stars and see the Corey Crawford we saw against Minnesota.
The Anaheim Ducks last Western Conference final was back in 2007 when they went on to win it all. Anaheim has been as dominant as any team in the playoffs with a sweep of Winnipeg followed by a 4-1 series win against the Calgary Flames. Like the Blackhawks their stars have not backed away from the bright lights with Corey Perry leading the postseason with 15 points while Ryan Getzlaf is third with 12 points with Ryan Kesler posting nine points in nine games (4 G-5 A). Matt Belesky tallied a goal in each game versus the Flames and Patrick Maroon has four goals and eight assists while ten forwards have lit the lamp overall. Frederik Andersen has been stellar between the pipes with a 1.96 GAA and .925 save percentage. The keys for the Ducks are continuing to score while keeping speedy Chicago in check by keeping the rubber off Andersen.
The Blackhawks are 5-0 in their last 5 overall and the over is 6-0 in Blackhawks last 6 Conference Finals games while Chicago are 4-0 in their last 4 games following a win. The Ducks are 6-1 in their last 7 games playing on 3 or more days rest and are 4-1 in their last 5 Conference Finals games while the over is 4-1 in Ducks last 5 Conference Finals games. The road team is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings and the Blackhawks are 4-1 in the last 5 meetings while the under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Anaheim. I want to see if there are any injuries before making a pick so please check back…