Minnesota Wild vs. Chicago Blackhawks Free Game 2 Pick | NHL Preview

Wild vs Hawks NHL Spread/Handicapping

The Chicago Blackhawks had a much more difficult time with the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarter final than most thought – but the result was what almost everybody predicted. Minnesota played almost the perfect road game, they held one of the best offenses in the game to one goal during regulation with their backup goalie, they stayed out of the penalty box and they still lost.

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#8 Minnesota Wild (26-19-1-2) at #1 Chicago Blackhawks (36-7-0-5)
When: 9:30 PM ET, Friday, May 3, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: CBC, RDS2, NBCSN, FS-N, CSN-CH
Hawks lead series 1-0
Wild vs. Hawks Betting Lines from Bovada
Minnesota Wild +1½ -140 +219 Ov 5 +105
Chicago Blackhawks -1½ +120 -242 Un 5 -116

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Blackhawks Look to Take Control Friday Night

Chicago won the President’s Trophy for a reason – they are terrific in every aspect of the game and are dangerous in high, and low scoring games. The two teams take to the ice again Friday night with Minnesota hoping to even the score. Good luck – Minnesota hasn’t beaten Chicago in regulation in 11 games!

The Minnesota Wild played well in Game 1 rallying around backup keeper Josh Harding – a nice story after resuming his career despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis last summer. Harding played in place of Niklas Backstrom after the veteran netminder suffered a lower-body injury during pregame warmups and finished with 35 saves in his first start since Jan. 30.

The Wild were able to clamp down defensively in Game 1 thanks in large part to Harding and free agent pick-up Ryan Suter who played an astonishing 41 minutes, 8 seconds. Minnesota actually held the lead after one period – a very good sign for the underdog. Zach Parise almost ended it in overtime as well. But Tuesday could have been Minnesota’s big chance – Chicago certainly won’t be caught off guard in Game 2. [ad-4437448]

To nobody’s surprise it was the depth of the Chicago Blackhawks that was the determining factor in Game 1. Nine players had at least 20 points for the Hawks during the regular season, helping Chicago to 149 goals – second only to high-scoring Pittsburgh. There aren`t too many teams that can trot out names like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, rookie Brandon Saad, speedy Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland, defensemen Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Hawks are plain scary!

Ultimately it was the third line that was the difference Tuesday night – Bickell was the goal scorer in overtime after being set up beautifully by Viktor Stalberg.

Corey Crawford made 26 saves on Tuesday and looked solid after allowing a goal on the first shot he faced. He will get the nod Friday after Ray Emery was ruled out for Game 2. Crawford was one of the best keepers in the game during the regular season and it looks like his strong regular season play will carry over to the postseason.

Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Over is 6-1-2 in MIN last 9 Fri. games.
• CHI are 9-3 in their last 12 Fri. games.
• CHI are 38-13 in their last 51 overall.
• Under is 12-5-1 in CHI last 18 Fri. games.
• MIN are 3-7 in the last 10 meetings.

Minnesota’s game plan was almost perfect on Tuesday night – expect Chicago to make a few adjustments for Game 2. Nik Backstrom and Jason Pominville remain out of the lineup for the Wild joining Dany Heatley on the sidelines. Without all hands on deck expect the Wild to fall once again – this time in slightly less impressive style. Chicago makes it 12 games without a regulation loss against Minnesota.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -242

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.