The New York Ranges were able to win in an elimination game for the fourth straight time last night, besting the Tampa Bay Lightning in convincing fashion when it was all said and done. I thought the Lightning were going to treat that like a game 7 but a series of defensive gaffes ultimately did them in. After the sloppy play that allowed the third goal it was the start of the end for the Lightning. They didn’t show much fight back after then and a game 7 was all but set up between the Lightning and Rangers. I think that game may have been a death sentence for the Lightning, but they have won in New York in this series already, so we know they can do that. Game 7s are when Henrik Lundqvist truly comes out to play, the Lightning are going to need to be completely focused in a couple nights time. Note that the Rangers did win multiple game 7s en route to the Stanley Cup Finals last season. They’ll have another chance at Madison Square Gardens against the Lightning.
Tonight we switch to another game 6 taking place in Chicago. The Blackhawks are down to their last game, and will need a victory to bring this thing back to Anaheim for a 7th and deciding game. Can they do what the Rangers did last night? They lost a really hard one in game 5 to set the stage for this one. After getting down 3-0 they made a big comeback to tie it up late in regulation. The good vibes didn’t last long with a quick goal from the Ducks in overtime. Either way it was going to be a hard loss for either team. If the Ducks blew that win then I couldn’t fathom them coming back to Chicago and responding well. But after surviving the way they did, they have to be feeling a big sense of relief. Surely they don’t want to give the Blackhawks any life, a team that has performed well in game 7s. The Ducks have played the role of chokers well in the past and the Hawks know that. However, Anaheim has definitely looked on another level in these playoffs, and the size and speed has to wear on teams in a playoff series. It should be a good one tonight at the United Center in Chicago.
Anaheim Ducks @ Chicago Blackhawks
The Anaheim Ducks look poised to add to their dominant performance in the playoffs thus far with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals against either the Rangers or Lightning. The Lightning had their chance last night but failed, the Ducks get a similar chance tonight on the road. It shouldn’t be an easy road for the Ducks in Chicago, but if they play their game I think its theirs. The question is if whether the Ducks are going to play a relaxed brand of hockey knowing they have an extra game at home in their back pocket.
The public is backing the Blackhawks thinking there is no way they can drop this game 6 at home. After all, they have been in must win situations before and come out of it golden. However, after another long, grueling battle against the Ducks in game 5, how much energy do the Blackhawks have left in the tank. The Ducks are just a massive team size wise and they have exerted it over the Hawks for the majority of this series. They let a glorious opportunity slip away from them in Anaheim. After losing in Chicago, it was only the second time all playoffs that the Ducks lost on the road. Note that their only three losses have been in overtime. The Ducks have yet to lose in regulation. What that says is despite a full effort from their opponents, it had to take an overtime session to beat them. Given the price in this game I have to jump on the Ducks to end this series tonight.
PICK: DUCKS TO WIN +127 5DIMES – BEST ODDS