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Blackhawks Look To Make Easy Work Of Wild In Opening Round

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/29/2013 7:30:28 PM

The Chicago Blackhawks left the rest of the Western Conference behind with a 24-game point streak to begin the regular season, and they never let up on their way to a Presidents trophy for the best record in the NHL. With the playoffs here it’s time to start over again, and despite what they managed to accomplish during the regular season it won’t be an easy road for the Blackhawks, especially with a potential second-round online betting series against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings looming.

Western Conference Quarterfinal – Best of 7
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild

Chicago was the most consistently dominant team throughout the regular season, and the numbers only reinforce how complete this team is. The Blackhawks finished second in scoring and first in goals per game allowed, showing the type of balance it will take to make a run to the Stanley Cup finals. Chicago is somewhat fortunate to avoid a first round match up against one of the more physical teams in the Western Conference, as Minnesota managed to squeeze in to the eighth and final spot ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets with a win over the Colorado Avalanche on the final day of the regular season. While both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter lived up to expectations after signing long term deal with the franchise as free agents in the offseason, the Wild struggled with consistency all year and lacked the toughness in their own end to keep online sportsbook opponents off the board. That will be a big problem against a Chicago team with plenty of firepower and the ability shut things down once they establish an early lead, and so while Minnesota fans celebrate a playoff berth it might not last very long.

NHL Betting Pick: Blackhawks in Four

Western Conference Quarterfinal – Best of 7
(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings

The Blackhawks won’t be crowned kings of the Western Conference unless they get past the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings, and a second-round series could be a real possibility. Los Angeles will match up against a Blues’ team that it dominated during the regular season, scoring four goals or more in each of three-straight wins to sweep the season series. St. Louis doesn’t have the offensive firepower to overcome its struggles at the defensive end of the ice when it does falter, and that was the case against the Kings in particular this online sports betting season. Los Angeles dominated the Blues in a four-game sweep when these teams met in last year’s playoffs, and while this year’s Kings looked better at both ends of the ice, St. Louis is a team that was far too inconsistent against the best of the best. Home ice advantage could be enough for the Blues to steal a game in this series, but that is as much as they will get from the defending champs.

NHL Betting Pick: Kings in Five

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