On consecutive nights in the NHL playoffs there was overtime. Unlike the first one two nights ago, the Rangers and Lightning concluded theirs somewhat earlier. The Blackhawks and Ducks went to three, but it was all over rather quickly in Tampa, as the Lightning were able to get one past Henrik early in the first overtime period. You don’t find the New York Rangers and Lundqvist in shootouts like that too often, but last night marks the second in a row against the Lightning. The Rangers love to get in those tight 2-1 type games where they can wear you down. The kind of game we seen last night usually ends in the other teams favor.
The Lightning don’t care, they have the offensive horses to get in those games and win. They’ve been in high scoring games all year long. But the Rangers win games with stellar goaltending and shutdown defense. Henrik Lundqvist has now allowed 12 goals in back-to-back games. Betting on him to bounce back last night didn’t work out so well. It seemed like it would make sense, but Henrik didn’t look sharp again, and he looked quite awful on the game winner. I did say though he has had problems with the Lightning in the past, which is showing up once again in this series. He really needs to find a groove for game 4 or the Rangers will have to claw back from down 3-1 two series in a row.
As far as tonight is concerned, the Ducks have to find a way to win on the road in Chicago after a tough loss in triple overtime. It truly is a game of inches. If one of those pucks that hit the posts in overtime had a slightly different trajectory we’d be talking about the Ducks up in the series right now. That is what is so great about sports, the aspect of being so close yet so far away. It can be frustrating as hell for sports bettors, but that’s just part of the game. Chicago should be pumped up tonight, as the series shifts from the west coast to the Windy City Thursday night.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Is a game like that going to work in the Blackhawks favor? A long physical marathon? There are a couple of things to take from it. Either the Ducks are going to be demoralized after losing a game like that, or the Blackhawks are going to be too gassed for the duration of this series. There is a greater chance of the Blackhawks gassing out, notably defensively. Note that the Hawks only go four deep on the blue line. The defensive unit of the Blackhawks has to be feeling gasped after getting worked all night in Anaheim. In that sense the edge goes to the Ducks in this series.
Now I don’t think the Ducks are going to runaway with the series now or anything, but I do think its going to be a long series where stamina is key. Sometimes teams get a two day break after changing scenery for a series, but there is only a day after they went through that gruelling contest in Anaheim. Given what I just said about the Hawks’ defensive unit, I think this is a good opportunity for the Ducks to steal a game on the road. Also, the Ducks are great at home, but are good on the road as well, posting a record of 28-12-2 compared to the Blackhawks who are 29-12-3 at home. I’ll be on the Ducks to take game 3 in Chicago.
PICK: DUCKS TO WIN +120 5DIMES – BEST ODDS