NHL Hockey Betting: Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks

The NHL Western Conference Final gets underway on Sunday after a long layoff for both of the teams involved. The Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Minnesota Wild on May 7th giving them a 10 day break while the Anaheim Ducks dispatched the Calgary Flames on May 10th giving them a week off between series. That may be a negative for both teams at this stage of the playoffs–while some rest is good this much time off could be bad for the continuity and momentum of both sides. Despite the Ducks’ superior regular season record this is a very even series. In fact, you could make a good case that Chicago should be favored given their mastery of Anaheim this season. The Blackhawks won 3 of the 4 head to head meetings including both games on the Ducks’ home ice. Even Anaheim’s lone win wasn’t dominant as they beat Chicago 1-0 at the United Center. The Ducks didn’t score more than a single goal against the Hawks in any of their meetings this season and were outscored for the four games by a margin of 10-3.

The big question surrounding Anaheim is the health of Corey Perry. Perry has been listed as ‘probable’ for Game One and all reports say that he’ll play but he hasn’t practiced since the end of the Calgary series as he rests an injured knee. Perry’s presence–or lack thereof–is crucial as he’s got the most postseason points of any player in the playoffs. We’ll assume for the sake of argument that he will play but in our view it sure seems like the media and the NHL fan base is dismissing Chicago’s chances here. Much has been made of the Ducks’ dominant run to the conference finals going 8-1 against the Flames and Jets. Getting less notice is the Blackhawks’ 8-2 run against a significantly tougher draw in Nashville and Minnesota.

The Blackhawks have not only won four of the last five overall against Anaheim they’ve won 3 of the last 4 meetings in Southern California. The Ducks have the hype, but the Blackhawks have the better defense, more playoff experience among both the players and coaching staff and the deeper lineup of offensive weapons. They’ll win Game One and prevail in this series.