April 19, 2011

Free Hockey Picks: Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks Game 4 Preview

After three straight wins, the Vancouver Canucks can become the first team to make for successful NHL playoff picks in the first round of the postseason, as they’ll try to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.

It’s been an amazing series for the Canucks, and this Game 3 win probably ensured that they’ll be in the second round of the playoffs. However, we have seen a heck of a lot dumber in life than this, and you can bet that the Vancouver locker room is very aware that a 3-0 lead can deteriorate quickly in hockey betting action. After a very quiet Game 1 in which none of them got on the scoreboard, the team’s leading three scorers, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Ryan Kesler have all come to life. Daniel Sedin has three goals and a pair of assists to lead the team with five points, while Henrik Sedin leads the team with four assists. Kesler has two helpers of his own, as do both Christian Ehrhoff and Kevin Bieksa. The play of Roberto Luongo in net is very reminiscent of his campaign four years ago when he had a 1.77 GAA in the playoffs. However, this year, he is getting enough support from his offense, which is really making this 1.67 GAA stand up. There’s no doubt that Luongo can shut the door in fine fashion in this one.

Meanwhile, things have really just been nothing but a struggle for the Blackhawks. They only have five goals in the whole series, and they have really just been trounced in every aspect of the game. Of all the players on this team, it is Ben Smith who has the only two goal effort. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have two assists apiece, while Patrick Sharp has a goal, but those are the only five points to speak of for those three superstars. To make matters worse, Marian Hossa has been absolutely MIA as well. He only has 10 shots on goal without either directly scoring or helping out on one, and is a -3 in the +/- category. The good news is that Corey Crawford is getting some great playoff experience, but the bad news is that the experience really isn’t as good for Crawford as it was last year for Antti Niemi when the team won the Stanley Cup. There’s just no way that a 3.09 GAA is going to keep Chicago alive in the playoffs, but unless Marty Turco is going to be the answer in net, we don’t see anything getting significantly better any time soon.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks Pick: The Canucks are on Easy Street in this one. Chicago has been totally deflated, and we wouldn’t be all that surprised if this game ends up being a romp right from the start. Sure, if the Blackhawks can pull off a goal relatively early, that’d be fantastic for them and might be the kick start that they needed, but in all likelihood, this is going to be the final game of the season for the fans in the Windy City. Go with the Canucks -130.

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Adam Markowitz

is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.

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