The Tampa Bay Lightning looked to close the series out in six games at home and failed to do so against the Rangers. It would appear that they threw away their opportunity at the Stanley Cup Finals losing that one on their home ice. Having to go back to New York on the road and play Henrik Lundqvist who has never lost a game 7 in his career seemed next to impossible, but this series has been a little unpredictable. Not unpredictable in the sense that it went to seven games, but unpredictable in how it all unfolded. Note that the Lightning won both of the last two games in New York to win this. Additionally, the Rangers were unable to score a single goal in either of those games. Both of these teams looked differently at home vs on the road. In the case of this series, the team that didn’t hold on to home ice had the upper hand repeatedly. I took the Lightning in game 6 thinking it’d be over then. Nope, they waited for game 7 in a game that Henrik has never lost. I should have just stuck to totals in that series, as it was difficult to pinpoint what team was going to show up on a nightly basis.
We’re spoiled as we have another game 7 on our hands tonight in Anaheim. The situation is a little different, and makes more sense than what played out in the Rangers and Lightning series. The Blackhawks held home ice in game 6 to bring the series back to Anaheim for the final game tonight. After tonight the Stanley Cup Finals will be set, as either the Blackhawks or Ducks will face the Lightning for the right of hoisting Lord’s Stanley Cup. Either way it is going to be an exciting finals. All that needs to be decided is the winner of tonights contest, which many are declaring is a flip of the coin type game. I provide my thoughts below.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Anaheim Ducks
After a topsy-turvy playoffs for both goaltenders, it’ll come down to Corey Crawford and Frederik Anderson tonight in net. Remember it wasn’t all that long ago that there was a goaltending controversy in Chicago. There were a few games that Crawford wasn’t even starting in net. Now that he’s settled down he has played considerably better. We can’t say he is playing lock down hockey like he was during the Blackhawks’ previous run to winning the Stanley Cup, but he has improved. Plenty of the goals that he has allowed in this series have been due to poor defensive efforts. As thing as the Blackhawks have been on the blue line that was to be expected. Also, playing in what has become a grueling seven game series has complicated things for the Blackhawk defense.
Anderson is going through a dry spell at just the wrong time. In the last three games he has let in a total of 14 goals. 5, 4, and then another 5 goals in game 6. In the last ten games he’s allowed in an average of 3.2 goals per game. This series has seen the total gone 3-1-2 to the OVER. I am worried about Anderson in this game this evening. He’s never been in this kind of pressure cooked position before, and there is a talented roster on the other side that has been here before. Like I said earlier, many see this game as a coin flip, and generally I do as well. I have to give a lean to the Blackhawks, but my official play is going to be with the OVER 5.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-120) 5DIMES – BEST ODDS