Five games between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks have been decided in overtime. The sixth game will take place on Monday, April 23rd in what should be another brutal battle on the ice.
There is really no argument over the fact that the Coyotes have been the better team for the most part in this series. They have taken leads in the third period in all five games, but in all five, the team has fallen apart in the clutch and has given up the goal that has sent the game to overtime. Two of the three goals that Phoenix has scored in OT have been rather weak as well, and though it has been the better team in this series in our eyes, the argument could just as easily be made that it is lucky to still be in this series, let alone up three games to two. Raffi Torres now knows that he is going to be on the shelf for the rest of this season and into next year after getting a 25-game suspension from Brendan Shanahan and the NHL front office, and that has really hurt this team on both sides of the ice. The stars just aren’t there for the Coyotes as it is, and taking one of the big boppers with a lot of playoff experience off of the ice is going to hurt a ton.
When the Blackhawks went on their run to the Stanley Cup two years ago, they had to fight through just about everything imaginable to get the job done. That year, there was plenty of uproar over the fact that Antti Niemi wasn’t the goaltender that could ever lift the team to the Stanley Cup. He did just that, though the team did get rid of him the next season. Now, Head Coach Joel Quenneville has shown all sorts of confidence in his new net minder, Corey Crawford, whom many thought that he should have stuck on the bench after losing Games 3 and 4 in overtime here at the United Center. But alas, Quenneville stuck with his guns and avoid creating controversy by putting Ray Emery in the lineup, and Crawford rewarded him with a great performance in Game 5. It was the best of the playoffs thus far for the Blackhawks defensively, and that is the type of game that they are going to need to have again to force this series to a decisive Game 7.
The Final Word: Phoenix is the better team in this series, and we really think that it has at least a 50/50 shot to win a game in this one. That being said, we know that the +130 odds that we are going to back the Coyotes to finish this series off, though nothing would surprise us for as great as this series has been.
Phoenix Coyotes @ Chicago Blackhawks Pick: Phoenix Coyotes +130
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.