The Lightning came out as the desperate team last night and it ended up showing in the final score of 6-2. The Rangers were flat and were not playing like a team that knew they were heading to play the best home team in the NHL shortly. Now with the series tied up and the next two games in Florida the Lightning are in the driver seat. New York squandered a pretty good chance last night to put a lot of pressure on the Lightning. However, at home they can play a little relaxed now knowing that they don’t have to play from behind. Obviously not too relaxed, or they’ll be playing in the same state as the Rangers were last night, but they can play their game in Tampa Bay without having to overreact. I thought we were going to see some urgency from the Rangers last night even though they had a 1-0 lead in the series. Ultimately, though, they were flat and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist had the worst game of the series. I’d be surprised if he has two awful games in a row, so the Lightning better come out in similar fashion for game 3.
Across in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks look for a similar forecast as last nights game 2. The Ducks have looked on another level in these playoffs. What happened to the choking Ducks? They still have time to choke, let’s say that much, but the way they are playing they’re not in choke mode by a long shot. You can usually catch their body language being off and can witness the collapse coming from a mile away. It is going to take more than that to sense an impeding collapse from the Ducks because they have been playing lights out hockey. They’ll try to avoid what happened to the Rangers last night, and make the trip to Chicago with a 2-0 lead in the series.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks might benefit in a way watching the events unfold last night. There has to be a better effort from the Ducks after what the Rangers executed last night. I mean I’m sure the Rangers didn’t go out last night and say hey let’s play like a bunch of dumbasses, but the Lightning outplayed them pretty thoroughly. Getting the Ducks to play like that is going to be a tough task for the Blackhawks. The Hawks are a good team, but the way the Ducks are playing is trumping all else.
After the game 1 win, the Ducks have still failed to lose a game at home since early April. They haven’t lost a game in the playoffs all year at home, yet. The only loss they’ve endured is a close overtime loss on the road against the Flames. I feel like picking the Blackhawks tonight for me would be like betting on red because black hit 10 times in a row on a roulette wheel. That is never a smart bet and pretty poor reasoning. For me I have to take what is working, and what is working at the moment is this Anaheim Ducks team. Hard to pick against them tonight, as they are the hottest team left in the playoffs.
PICK: DUCKS TO WIN -133 5DIMES – BEST ODDS