NHL Free Pick: Lightning vs. Blackhawks Betting Lines & Preview

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Stanley Cup Final Betting action sees the Tampa Bay Lightning taking on the Chicago Blackhawks June 10 at United Center. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

Full marks to the Tampa Bay Lightning who came out in the toughest road building in the NHL and handled the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Daily NHL Hockey Odds

Lightning lead series 2-1
Tampa Bay at Chicago
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: CBC, TVA, NBCSN
Lightning NHL Betting Odds: +1½ -225 +136
Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds: -1½ +195 -150
NHL Over/Under Betting Odds: Ov 5½ +121, Un 5½ -133
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The speed and relentlessness of the young Lightning seem to be too much for the Hawks right now – youth is definitely winning out over experience here.

It could be argued that the Lightning have been the better team in all three games of the series and deserve to be playing the clinching game Wednesday night but the proud and battled-tested Blackhawks will have something to say about that!

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The Lightning were impressive in Game 3 on Monday night – their overall team effort had them win back home ice advantage over the favored Blackhawks.

The Lightning have now won four straight road games in this year’s playoffs – three straight at MSG and one at the United Center – pretty impressive. The one thing that we have come to know – the Lightning won’t be intimidated by any team, anywhere.

Perhaps the biggest story for the Lightning in the series so far has been the play of the defense – Victor Hedman to be more specific. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews still haven’t scored in the Stanley Cup Final which is almost unfathomable. Add in the fact that Hedman recorded two assists in Game 3 and he looks like the most dominant player in the series.

And then there is the secondary scoring for Tampa Bay – it has given them an unforeseen depth advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks – nobody could have seen that one coming.

Ryan Callahan scored on Monday night as did Cedric Paquette – a major boon for the Lightning indeed. The “Triplets” line seems to be over their funk as well.

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Ondrej Palat scored as well with assists from his linemates Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson. Game 3 was their second good game in a row after three straight duds. Somehow the Lightning lead the series despite the fact that Steven Stamkos hasn’t registered a point in five games – he will break out sooner than later!

Ben Bishop was a huge question mark heading into Game 3 and he responded with a 36 save performance – 19 saves in the first period alone. Bishop is obviously banged up – him gutting out the win Monday may be the extra kick that the Lightning need to win their second Cup in 10 years –or him playing hurt could come back to bite Tampa in the butt!

The Chicago Blackhawks played perhaps their best game of the Final on Monday night but still lost. They dominated the first period, they won the majority of faceoffs and they rode their crowd for long stretches of the game.

That’s the good news!

The bad news is that they still trail the series and that they have their backs against the wall heading into Wednesday night’s game.

Corey Crawford has been the difference the last two games – he hasn’t been great at all. He has allowed seven goals in the last two starts, many of which were of the soft variety. Crawford isn’t making the game-changing or timely save that his team needs and therefore the 2-1 hole.

While I expect Crawford to be better, there just seems to be some holes in his game right now – his decision making hasn’t been the best.

Crawford’s defense has been getting more and more exposed as the playoffs have worn on as well. Johnny Oduya was banged up last night forcing one of the bottom two defense to see a ton of minutes. As demonstrated, there is a huge dropoff between Chicago’s top 4 defensemen and all of the rest.

Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Oduya absolutely have to keep eating up minutes or the Hawks are in some trouble in the defensive zone.

Some contributions from their offensive stars would be nice as well! One assist combined from Kane and Toews isn’t good enough.

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It’s a good thing for Marian Hossa who was all over the ice in Game 3 and for Teuvo Teravainen who has nine points in 15 games in the playoffs.

Chicago is a much better offensive team than they’ve shown so far in the playoffs – something has to give to this forward unit – don’t you think?

NHL Gambling Trends

• CHI are 93-42 in their last 135 home games.
• CHI are 35-17 in their last 52 Wed. games.
• TB are 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.
• The Lightning are 8-3 on the road this postseason while the Blackhawks are 7-2 in home games in the playoffs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were good in Game 3 but in reality they may have been lucky to have won. It is unfathomable that Toews, Kane and Sharp are shut out again – my guess is that they break out sooner than later.

NHL Betting 4* Free Play

The Hawks have too much quality and are just too good on home ice to lose two straight at the Madhouse on Madison.

Chicago Blackhawks -150

You gotta love Tampa’s confidence heading into Game 4 but you have to go with the home side in this one.

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By DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.