Red Wings at Blackhawks Picks and Game 7 NHL Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/29/2013
Is the National Hockey League regular season way too long? It most definitely is, although not this year because of the lockout. But the teams battle it out 82 games a year in order to get home-ice advantage in the postseason. And winning the Presidents' Trophy will certainly pay off for the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night as they will host Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Detroit Red Wings. Whatever the result, it will be the final playoff game between these Original Six rivals likely for a very long time with the Wings off to the Eastern Conference.
If you had told the No. 7 Wings they would even be in a Game 7 against the Hawks before this season, I guarantee you they would have taken that. Now, however, the Wings are kicking themselves for the series lasting this long after blowing a 3-1 lead. The good news is that the Wings already won a Game 7 on the road in the playoffs, upsetting the Anaheim Ducks. Also, Detroit is 14-9 all-time in Game 7s, the most wins in NHL history.
Red Wings at Blackhawks Betting Story Lines
Chicago couldn't solve Wings goalie Jimmy Howard in Games 2-4, managing just two total goals. I'd say Hawks captain Jonathan Toews was invisible in those games, but he kept drawing stupid penalties. However, Toews finally found the net in Game 5, and that seemed to spur the entire Chicago team. It won that game 4-1 and then rallied from a 2-1 third-period deficit on Monday night for a 4-3 victory in Motown. That snapped Chicago's eight-game playoff losing streak in Detroit that dated back 21 years.
Toews again was a force with two assists, and Michael Frolik became the first player in NHL history with two penalty-shot goals in the playoffs -- the other was in 2011 against Vancouver. Frolik's score on Monday was the first penalty-shot goal by any player since then. The Hawks also scored on the power play again Monday and are 5-0 in these playoffs when they score with the man advantage. Detroit is 2-6 when giving up a PP goal. And what's with the Wings in the third period of these playoffs? They have now been outscored a whopping 20-10 in that period. Chicago, meanwhile, has scored a playoff-best 17 third-period goals.
If there are any positives from Game 6 for the Wings, it's that they were the mostly better team for the first two periods and put 38 shots on Chicago goalie Corey Crawford. While Crawford has been good in these playoffs, he did allow a cheap goal Monday, something he's been prone to do. That gave Detroit its 2-1 lead, but Crawford's teammates bailed him out from being a big-time goat. Crawford is 7-4 with 1.78 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in the playoffs.
Right now, Chicago's best players, Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Crawford (actually Bryan Bickell might be the team's best offensive player right now), are playing better than Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Howard. Rookie defenseman Brendan Smith is killing the Wings with his mistakes.
Red Wings at Blackhawks Game 7 NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BookMaker, Chicago is -230 and Detroit +190 with the total at 5 (under -130 favorite). The Wings are 1-1-5 “over/under” on the road in the playoffs. Chicago is 2-1-3 O/U at home.
Detroit is 15-6 in its past 21 playing on one day of rest. Chicago is 6-2 in its past eight Wednesday games. The under is 8-2-7 in Detroit's past 17 road games. The under is 8-2-2 in Chicago's past 12 playing on one day of rest. The over is 3-0-3 in the Hawks' past six following a win. The under is 7-1-4 in the past 12 in Chicago. The Wings are 1-5 in the past six in the Windy City.
Red Wings at Blackhawks Picks and Game 7 Betting Predictions
I don't pay much attention to playoff histories, but I'll relay these stats and let you draw your own conclusions. Detroit hasn't lost a series while up 3-1 since 1991 against St. Louis. That was the year Detroit started its amazing 22 consecutive seasons streak of reaching the playoffs. The Hawks have to feel good. For one, they have the last line change on Wednesday being at home. And they haven't lost a home Game 7 in 42 years (North Stars). Since then, Chicago has won three straight home Game 7s.
The Wings likely are going to have to score a power-play goal to win, and, obviously, being at home usually benefits the home team when it comes to calls. Plus, Chicago has allowed just one shorthanded goal in 39 chances in the playoffs. I could definitely see this one going to overtime, which would be fabulous theater. But take the Hawks and the under.
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