Western Conference Final: Kings vs. Blackhawks NHL Gambling Prediction & Lines

NHL Playoffs – LA vs Chicago Picks

Kings and Blackhawks in Western Conference Final for Second Straight Year

Two teams that have won it all recently meet in the Western Conference Final that starts Sunday, May 1.

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Chicago Blackhawks 2-1
Los Angeles Kings 3-1

Odds to win the 2013-14 Western Conference

  • Kings Series Prices +130
  • Blackhawks Series Prices -160

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The Los Angeles Kings, fresh off an impressive Game 7 beat down of the Anaheim Ducks will be looking to exact a little revenge on the team that took them out of the playoffs at this juncture last year – the Chicago Blackhawks who faced a tough battle in Round 2 but ultimately prevailed against the pesky Minnesota Wild.

The Los Angeles Kings have had a wild ride up until this point – two Game 7s already and a 6-0 record when facing elimination in the playoffs. The Kings have had three-two game losing streaks already and are still alive! Amazing.

LA’s game is defense – if they are failing to click defensively and if Jonathan Quick isn’t at the absolute top of his game the Kings immediately fall behind the 8-ball. In the three losses against San Jose he gave up 17 goals. In LA’s three losses to Anaheim Quick was substandard even getting pulled in one game. Jonathan Quick continues to be the biggest difference-make for the Kings – their success hinges on his play – period.

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While Quick steals a lot of the attention, LA’s forwards have been respectable to say the least so far in the playoffs. They were second in goals per game in the first round and they are coming off a six goal outburst in Game 7 against Anaheim. Marian Gaborik, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets prior to the NHL Trade Deadline, leads the playoffs with nine goals while Anze Kopitar is tops with 13 assists and 19 points so far this postseason – not to bad at all! Jeff Carter has 10 points in 14 games and his linemates Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli have been great. The rest of the supporting cast has been good as well in the playoffs.
The Chicago Blackhawks have the best group of forwards in the NHL and this group has not disappointed so far in the playoffs. Marian Hossa has 11 points so far in the postseason, one more than forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane and 2013 playoff hero Bryan Bickell lead the Blackhawks with six goals, one more than Toews.

Kane has three game-winning goals, two in overtime; four of Toews’ five goals have been winners, including one in overtime. If you slow one or two of the big names for the Hawks another is often there to make you pay!

Marian Hossa (two goals) has been terrific and has nine assists, but Patrick Sharp (two goals), Brandon Saad (two goals) and Kris Versteeg (one goal) have been slightly underwhelming so far. Chicago has flashed its unparalleled skill, their depth and their relentlessness all playoffs long – no reason to think they will slow down in the Western Final.

Just like the Kings, the Blackhawks’ goaltending situation may be the X-factor. Corey Crawford has been very good in the playoffs – a .931 save percentage thus far. With the lineup that Chicago will trot out there, Crawford will just have to be good, not great in order for the Blackhawks to win.

Prediction: The Chicago Blackhawks are just the latest of the offensively stout teams that the Los Angeles Kings will try to knock off. LA has managed to slow their opposition`s superstars so far – but the Hawks offer up a totally different challenge.

Chicago looks every bit the Staley Cup favorites most expected before the playoffs started while LA has been flat at times. The Kings have dodged two bullets so far in the playoffs (two-three game losing streaks) but it won`t happen again. For the past two years, the Blackhawks have had much the better of their matchups; in addition to going 4-1 against the Kings last spring, Chicago swept three regular-season games in 2013-14, outscoring Los Angeles 9-4.

Dave’s NHL Series Prediction:

The Blackhawks won 3-1 and 1-0 at home during a 15-day span in December before a 5-3 win at Staples Center on Feb. 3.

Translation – Chicago is too deep, too well coached and too motivated to be denied in this series.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks in 6 games

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.