Date/Time: June 8th, 8:00 p.m. ET
Moneyline: Chicago -170
Home ice has only been broken one time in this series, but one time would be all that the Chicago Blackhawks need to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals. If they can win Game 5 on Saturday night, they’ll be moving onto the championship series. The Los Angeles Kings, the defending Stanley Cup champs, are standing in their way and won’t go down easily, though.
The Kings are on the ropes for the first time in the last two seasons. They have had resistance before, as they were beaten in the first two games both in this series and in the opening round series against the St. Louis Blues, but they have never had to fend off elimination, let alone having to do it in three straight games. The pressure is going to be on G Jonathan Quick, who had his second really bad game in this series and his first bad home game on Thursday night. Quick allowed three goals on just 28 shots, and he really hasn’t gotten enough help in this series. Los Angeles hasn’t scored more than two goals with G Corey Crawford in net in a game in this series, and that’s really putting all of the pressure in the world on Quick. We aren’t really all that sure where the Kings are going to get their goals from, though. D Slava Voynov seems to be the best goal scoring threat that the team has at its disposal, and that just isn’t going to cut it on a team with so many stars.
The Blackhawks were in this very same spot, down 3-1 in the second round of the playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings, and they know just how dangerous the Kings are. Needless to say, Head Coach Joel Quenneville isn’t going to want his team to mess around in this one. The offense of late has been coming from a surprising source. LW Bryan Bickell has a goal in three straight games in this series, and he now has eight for the postseason. Of course, RW Marian Hossa and LW Patrick Sharp are both doing their thing, as they have 14 points apiece. D Duncan Keith will be back in the fold for this game after being suspended for Game 4 following a vicious high sticking penalty in Game 3. C Jonathan Toews is the man that is really going to have to step it up. He has just seven points in 16 games in these playoffs, and if the Blackhawks are going to ultimately win the Stanley Cup, they’ll need Toews to do more than this, especially in the goal department, as he has just one goal to his credit for the entire playoffs.
We still think that the Kings are going to show some life in this series. Yes, Chicago is 8-1 at home this year in the playoffs, and yes, LA seems to be dead in the water and facing a tremendous amount of adversity, but we still don’t think it is going to matter. The Kings, behind Quick, will find some way to get out of this game and force this series back to Los Angeles on Monday.
Los Angeles Kings @ Chicago Blackhawks Game 5 Pick: Los Angeles Kings +160
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.