Wild at Blackhawks Picks and Game 2 NHL Odds
by Dave Schwab - 5/3/2013
The Minnesota Wild and the Chicago Blackhawks will resume their opening-round playoff series this Friday night at the United Center in Game 2 of a best-of-seven series with Chicago holding the early 1-0 edge. The game is scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
Minnesota closed out the regular season with a 4-5-1 record in its last 10 regular season games and opened up the postseason with a tough 2-1 overtime loss this past Tuesday night as a +217 road underdog. The total has stayed “under” in three of its last four games.
The Blackhawks finished the regular season on a 7-2-1 run in their last 10 games to capture this season’s Presidents Trophy for the most points (77 points). The most impressive thing about this accomplishment is an 18-3-3 record at home complementing an 18-4-2 record on the road in the shortened 48-game schedule.
Wild at Blackhawks Betting Storylines
Give all the credit in the world to Minnesota for hanging so tough in Game 1 after its starting goalie Niklas Backstrom was scratched right before the start of the contest with a lower-body injury. In his place Josh Harding stood tall by stopping 37 of the 35 shots he faced. Unfortunately, he could not stop the one that counted the most in the overtime loss. Backstrom remains day-to-day for Game 2.
Whether it is Harding or Backstrom in goal on Friday night, Zach Parise and the Wild are going to have to find a way to generate some offense to have any hope of coming away with a split on the road in this series. This has been a problem all season long with a goals-per-game average of 2.5 that was ranked 22nd in the league. Parise led the team with 18 goals in the regular season, but there were only three other players with 10 or more goals in a supporting role.
Scoring has never been an issue for Chicago this season with a 3.1 goals-per-game average that was ranked second in the NHL, although it has been held in check recently with three goals or less in five of its last six games. You have to believe that this mini-drought is not going to last much longer with players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews just chomping at the bit to get back to work. These two combined for 46 goals and 57 assists in the regular season.
Defensively the Blackhawks are as rock-solid as ever with Corey Crawford and Ray Emery in goal. Crawford got the call in Game 1 and responded by stopping 26 of the 27 shots he faced. Look for him to be back between the pipes on Friday night as Emery continues to nurse a sore back. There is little difference between the two as each has a GAA of less than two and a save percentage higher than .920.
Wild at Blackhawks NHL Game 2 Betting Odds and Trends
The Wild are 11-30 in their last 41 games against a team with a winning record and 1-5 in their last six games after scoring two or less goals in their previous outing. The total has stayed under in five of their last six games against a team with a winning record.
The Blackhawks are 7-2 in their last nine games playing of two day’s rest and 6-1 in their last seven games after scoring two or less goals in their previous game. The total has stayed under in their last five opening round playoff games.
The home team in this matchup is 4-1 in the last five meetings with the total staying under in four of those games. Chicago won two of the three meetings during the regular season.
Wild at Blackhawks Picks and Betting Predictions
Minnesota played extremely well on Tuesday night but still blew a golden opportunity to steal a much-needed win on the road in this series. Chances like that do not come around too often against a quality team like Chicago, and they are not coming around again this Friday night. The top play in this matchup is the Blackhawks -1.5 on the puck line at +120 as they return to form on offense in a lopsided win.
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