Date/Time: May 15th, 8:00 PM ET
Television: NBC Sports Network
Moneyline: Blackhawks -200
The Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks are all set to start their second round series in NHL playoff betting action. The puck drops in Game 1 on Wednesday night at the United Center in the only game on the docket at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Red Wings weren’t at their best in their opening round series against the Anaheim Ducks, but they got the job done and have now won a whopping six games in a row with their backs against the wall dating back to the last four games of the regular season, which all turned out to be must-wins to get into the playoffs. In the playoffs though, it was the rest of the team that picked up G Jimmy Howard, not the other way around, and that had to be considered incredibly encouraging for a team that just didn’t generate enough offensive last year. LW Henrik Zetterberg came alive late in the series against the Pacific Division champs, ultimately scoring three goals with five assists to lead the team in points in the series. C Pavel Datsyuk had a fantastic series as well, scoring two goals with five assists. Howard though, still has some work to be done. His 2.74 GAA definitely left a lot to the imagination, though he did win a pair of overtime games and managed to shut the door in Game 7 on the road, something that very few have the real gumption to do.
The Blackhawks are rolling at the moment, and they look every bit the part of the best team in the Western Conference, if not in all of hockey. They ranked second in the league in total offense at 3.1 goals per game in the regular season and first in total defense at 2.0 goals per game in that stretch. Here in the playoffs, they are averaging 3.4 goals per game and are conceding 1.4 goals per game, and there was never really a doubt that they were taking down the Minnesota Wild. It took five games to happen, but the only scary moment was perhaps when Game 1 was in overtime. Aside from that though, the other three wins in this series all came by at least three goals. C David Bolland and G Ray Emery both missed the whole first round series with injuries, and both are considered questionable to get back in the fold for this one. Emery would be on the bench regardless, knowing that he is definitively the backup at this point to G Corey Crawford, who had a stunningly good opening round series.
This is a major step up in class for Chicago, though. The Red Wings are significantly better than your average No. 7 seed, and they are worlds better than the Wild were without their top goalie. Don’t be shocked if Detroit ultimately comes to the Windy City and walks away with at least a split of these first two games.
Detroit Red Wings @ Chicago Blackhawks Pick: Detroit Red Wings +180
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.