Blackhawks vs Ducks Playoff Pick
The stage has been set for the 2015 NHL Western Conference Final. Two of the Conference Heavyweights have navigated their way to this point with relative ease – the Ducks needed nine games to get by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round and the Calgary Flames in the second.
The Blackhawks needed 10, six games to defeat the Nashville Predators in the first round and a sweep of the Minnesota Wild in the second.
NHL Playoffs Betting
Sunday, May 17 3 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, May 19 9 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Thursday, May 21 8 p.m. Anaheim at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Saturday, May 23 8 p.m. Anaheim at Chicago NBC, CBC, TVA Sports
*Monday, May 25 9 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Wednesday, May 27 8 p.m. Anaheim at Chicago NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 30 8 p.m. Chicago at Anaheim NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Jets vs. Ducks Odds To Win 7 Game Series:
Blackhawks Series Prices -110
Ducks Series Prices -110
NHL Playoff Betting: Blackhawks vs. Ducks Series Preview & Pick
Things get a whole lot tougher for both teams in the Western Final – each has been scoring goals at an impressive rate and each has a goaltender that seems to be peeking at precisely the right time. So who wins this clash of the Titans? Let’s take a peek.
The offenses for the Ducks and the Blackhawks is impressive to say the least names like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Patrick Maroon, Ryan Kesler, Matt Beleskey, Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano will try to get the best of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp, Brad Richard and Brian Bickell.
It’s a tasty matchup for sure!
Perry currently leads the postseason in points (15). Not far behind is Getzlaf, who has 12 points on two goals and 10 assists. Silfverberg has three multipoint games and Maroon has four goals. Patrick Kane is second in playoff scoring at the moment for Chicago with 13 points and his supporting cast has been has been good as well – Toews has 11 points and Sharp has nine.
The offensive edge may just have to go the Ducks way in this series however – the secondary scoring has been a titch better. Matt Beleskey had an incredible five goals against Calgary, netting a goal in each of the series’ five games, Ryan Kesler has scored four goals through two rounds of these playoffs and Jakob Silfverberg has 11 points thus far. Compare that with Chicago’s second line. Outside of Kane who has been sizzling Bryan Bickell and Brad Richards have combined for just a goal (with seven assists) this postseason.
All together 10 Ducks forwards have at least a goal in Anaheim’s nine games so far in the playoffs – somewhat surprisingly they enter the series hotter in the offensive zone.
The Ducks and the Hawks have been very good defensively so far in the playoffs. The Ducks have allowed 2.00 goals per game – Chicago is right there in terms of defensive stats.
Francois Beauchemin, Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler and partner Simon Despres are a combined plus-13 with four penalty minutes. Sami Vatanen and stay-at-home D-Man Clayton Stoner have made up a top 6 that are taking care of business in their own end and are contributing offensively as well.
For Chicago Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya have been terrific – the loss of Michal Rozsival with a broken ankle may loom large however. Veteran Kimmo Timonen will step in for Rozsival and act as an OK replacement.
Keep in mind that Chicago was the second best defensive club in the NHL during the Regular Season. They also held the Minnesota Wild to just seven goals in the Second Round.
Experience and all-around talent level gives the defensive edge to Chicago. The Hawks D-men have been there before and have thrived on the biggest stage while a deep playoff run is a new experience for the majority of the Ducks defensive corp.
That leaves the goaltending as the probable deciding factor in the series – Frederik Andersen versus Corey Crawford.
Andersen is certainly peeking at the right time – 8-1 record with a 1.96 GAA and a .925 save percentage in the playoff so far. He’s allowed more than two goals in just two of nine games this postseason.
Corey Crawford rebounded from a miserable Round 1 series – nine goals allowed in two starts. But in true professional fashion Crawford has rebounded and has been superb since. Against Minnesota Crawford went 4-0 with a 1.75 GAA and .947 save percentage.
Both keepers have been terrific but I have to give the edge to Chicago once again based on experience alone. Crawford has taken the Hawks to the promise land before – don’t be surprised if he does it again.
4* Free Prediction:
Both teams have been impressive so far but I can’t help but think that the Ducks have faced the easier competition – they haven’t been challenged by a true top tier team yet. Chicago on the other hand knocked off two pretty good teams.
Kane, Toews, Hossa, Keith, Sharp, Seabrook and Brandon Saad are an absolute nightmare to play against – it is virtually impossible to shut down all five guys at the same time. With a relatively fresh Patrick Kane, a newly confident Corey Crawford and a defensive corp. that should be able to at least limit the effectiveness of Anaheim’s top line.
I like Chicago to win this series in a thrilling seven games.