Following an exciting Game 7 in the other Western Conference series last night, the Wings and Blackhawks will decide who gets to take on the Kings in the upcoming Conference Finals. This series saw Detroit jump out to a surprising 3-1 series lead, but the Blackhawks have stormed back admirably, showing a solid combination of skill and character. With the deciding Game 7 returning to home ice for Chicago, it remains to be seen if the plucky Red Wings can extend their season for yet another series. Read on below for thoughts on the last game of the second round, and tonight’s featured selection.
Detroit Red Wings (+190) @ Chicago Blackhawks (-220)
Over 5.0 Goals (+110) / Under 5.0 Goals (-130)
We haven’t played any regulation wagers thus far at The Sports Geek but come playoff time, anything is on the table. We’ve usually adhered to strict moneyline plays and never tried to play too heavy of favourites but tonight the Blackhawks do represent decent value, because they’ll be the winning team. That said, laying this absurd price is not worth it, but doing so at a -1 line or a regulation line (as offered at Bovada/Bodog) makes a lot of sense in what is a favourable spot. However, that’s just a small recommendation, and tonight’s featured play we lean heavily to the Under 5 in this game.
The Hawks enter riding a wave of momentum. Many counted them out when things weren’t going their way and they had fallen behind their rivals 3-1 in the series, but much has changed since then. The Hawks have shown a ton of character of late to tie this series up, and now return home to play in front of what promises to be a charged-up atmosphere on Wednesday evening. But perhaps the biggest reason for their resurgence in this series has been their tight defensive play. Head Coach Joel Quenville has reunited the duo of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and the former Team Canada tandem has done a great job of stifling the top attackers from Detroit.
For the first six games of this series, the play on the ice has been incredibly tight-checking filled with minimal scoring chances. In a Game 7 situation with both teams feeling the pressure, expect a very slow start, much like what we saw in last night’s Kings and Sharks tilt. Both coaches tonight are well aware of each other and the nuances of the opposition, and expect some solid defensive outings from both teams.
Add in the fact that both Corey Crawford and Jimmy Howard have been exceptional thus far and it’s easy to see why we like the Under in tonight’s contest. Though we mentioned above the Hawks will win this game, Jimmy Howard will not let the game get away from the Wings. Detroit has been in every game this series, and a large portion of their success can be attributed to the American between the pipes.
Expect a tight-checking, hard-fought affair to close out what has been a great series. This game should look like a carbon copy of what we witnessed last night in California between the Kings and the Sharks, and while the Blackhawks will advance, better value exists on the Under 5 in this game. Chicago will not surrender many chances as their revamped blue-line has been giving Detroit fits. Meanwhile, Jimmy Howard is playing out of this world right now, and the potent scorers of Chicago won’t be able to dominate as usual. Look for something along the lines of a 3-1 scoreline for the Blackhawks, propelling them into the Western Finals for a tantalizing match-up against the defending champs. If you do want to bet the side in the game, we recommend doing so with the Blackhawks either in regulation (Bovada currently has this at -135 for Chicago) or a -1 line. But our money will be backing a low-scoring affair in tonight’s pivotal Game 7.
PICK = Under 5 (-130)