NHL Hockey Betting: Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Anaheim Ducks at Chicago Blackhawks

The Western Conference Finals shift to Chicago where the Blackhawks will host the Anaheim Ducks in Game Three on Thursday night. The series is tied at one game apiece following an epic triple overtime win by Chicago in Game Two. That followed a decisive Game One victory by the Ducks. The winner of this series will go on to face the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning currently hold a 2-1 lead in that best of seven series.

At some point early in the playoffs, the Anaheim Ducks became the darling of the wanna-be sharps. Despite their unimpressive regular season statistical profile these ersatz wise guys branded the Ducks as the presumptive Stanley Cup champions as they made short work of overmatched opponents Winnipeg and Calgary. Anaheim is a big, physical team and the narrative according to these lifetime losers is that they’ll ‘beat up’ the smaller Blackhawks.

The problem is that while the Hawks might not have the size that the Ducks do they have a ridiculous amount of skill. They’ve also got the better head coach and his adjustments have already become apparent during the series. They’ll be even more pronounced in Game Three with Joel Quinneville having the last line change afforded the home team. This will enable him to get the matchups he wants for his star offensive players as well as more favorable defensive matchups. This should benefit players like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane greatly and give them more space with which to work.

The Ducks won 4 of the last 5 games played in Chicago but that means very little here. The playoffs are a different animal entirely and this also works to the advantage of the Blackhawks. Chicago is the more ‘battle tested’ playoff team while the Ducks are in uncharted postseason territory. Chicago will be able to get their offense going and win this game with relative ease. They’ll take a 2-1 advantage into Game Four on Saturday. The Ducks’ one dimensional play won’t be enough to stop a deep, talented and well coached Blackhawks’ team.