Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15) at St. Louis Blues (52-23-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday April 19, 2014, 3:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: St. Louis Blues -115 / Chicago Blackhawks +105 --- Over/Under: 5
The Blackhawks look to even the series and head home with home ice advantage as they battle the Blues in a pivotal game two of their Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The Blackhawks were heartbroken in the series opener against their Central division rivals as they gave up a late goal that forced overtime and in the third extra session which equated basically to another full game played the Blues buried the winner and stole momentum. Chicago stormed out of the gate and received some timely goaltending from Corey Crawford throughout the contest but you can bet he would have loved to have Jaden Schwartz’ tying mark back as it was a bit of a softy. The Hawks know that the playoffs are a grind and that they can’t be too hard on themselves after suffering a tough loss like this one and if there is any team capable of rallying from a defeat it is the defending Stanley Cup Champions. There has been no indication or reason that Chicago would turn to Antii Raanta in this spot so we are likely going to see Crawford against Ryan Miller once again for game two.
The Blues proved why they are one of the league’s most versatile teams as they rallied back to tie the contest late then persevered enough to score the overtime winner and grab the series lead, all the while some of their top players are out of the lineup or playing well less than 100 percent. St. Louis is incredibly deep up front and has a nice core of young defensemen and while their goaltending was very shaky at the start of the game as Miller allowed three goals on his first seven shots, he was world class the rest of the way and a huge reason why the Blues won. This series is going to be a bloodbath and one that any sports fan should be tuning in to and if this is going to go seven games like most people expect than the Hawks need to steal a game on the road. I could very well see the home side win each contest until the deciding game but I think Chicago is well worth a look here as they dominated most of the game against the Blues and if not for a couple of lapses could be up in this series. I like Chicago to respond and get a win to even things up.