Chicago Blackhawks (60-32-7) at Tampa Bay Lightning (62-32-8)
|Date & Time||Wednesday June 3, 2015, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -110 / Chicago Blackhawks +100 --- Over/Under: 5
The Chicago Blackhawks travel to Amalie Arena for the Stanley Cup opener versus the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Which team has the edge in the Stanley Cup finals is open for debate when the series opens at Amalie Arena on Wednesday night. The Chicago Blackhawks have loads of experience having won the Cup in 2010 and again in 2013 with the vast majority of these players still on the roster. The talent on Chicago has been talked about for years as they have four lines they will roll out with all extremely dangerous in all phases. Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks with ten goals and 20 points overall with Jonathan Toews right on his heels with nine goals and nine helpers. Brandon Saad and Brent Seabrook each have six goals apiece with seven players scoring at least four times. D Duncan Keith leads the Hawks with 16 assists and is second on the team 18 points. In 14 games Corey Crawford has a 2.56 GAA with a .919 save % after surviving some first round struggles.
The Tampa Bay Lightning mirror their counterparts in many ways but most notably in the skill positions as there is no shortage of offensive firepower. The Lightning don’t have the notoriety of Chicago with their only Stanley Cup coming way back in 2004. Having said that the Bolts have the speed and quickness that rivals Chicago while possessing a defense that can stand on their own two feet and are not a liability. In other words Tampa Bay can win the score fests or defensive struggles. Center Tyler Johnson seemed unstoppable at times and his team high 12 tallies and 21 points backs up that statement. Nikita Kucherov has been a thorn in opponents sides as well with nine goals and ten helpers while Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Pavlet have scored seven times each. The Lightning defensemen are not quite as active offensively but that doesn’t seem to hurt the scoreboard. Ben Bishop has been outstanding in the nets with a 2.15 GAA and .920 save %.
The over is 4-0 in Blackhawks last 4 overall and is 3-0-2 in Blackhawks last 5 road games while going 4-0 in Blackhawks last 4 vs. a team with a winning record. The over is 4-0-1 in Lightning last 5 home games and Tampa Bay are 10-1 in their last 11 Wednesday games while the over is 4-1-1 in Lightning last 6 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game. The Blackhawks are 0-4 in the last 4 meetings in Tampa Bay and are 1-6 in the last 7 meetings while the home team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. I lean over with the talent on the ice but please check back…