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Blackhawks vs Kings Preview 

Game 1 Today 5pm NBCSN

Weird scheduling by the NHL for the two conference finals. First the Bruins and Penguins had what felt like six weeks off before they play the later game tonight. Now people will start to notice that this series starts off with a back to back. After that it is every other day like it should be but how can you throw a back to back in to start off the conference finals? That feels like a slight advantage for the Kings. Should make it at least slightly easier to grab at least one of the first two in Chicago and swing home ice. But we all know that isn’t all that important, and Chicago is due to be really good.

I say due because of how well they played during the regular season. They are a complete, completely loaded team. They have too much firepower to be struggling. Which by the way I wouldn’t call it struggling but so many people are down on them after that Red Wings series. Need I remind you that that was really the end of a rivalry. With realignment happening for next year the Red Wings/Blackhawks won’t be seeing each other as often. And as we have all learned in a real rivalry anyone can win anytime. Detroit taking them to 7 surprised me simply because I didn’t think Detroit had it in them this year, but they stepped up only to falter when the Blackhawks really needed to turn it on. Now it is time to make a statement while everyone still loves Pittsburgh to win the cup.

Best Bet:

Blackhawks win series in 5 +450

While most people seem to be down on Chicago they seem to be riding high on the Kings. I do not see it. Defending champs sure but the four teams that remain have won the last four Cups. So how much of an advantage experience wise do they really have? Not to mention it took the Kings 7 to dispatch of the Sharks who are perennial playoff disappointments and six to knock off the Blues in round 1.

As always for the Kings however most of the pressure falls on goaltender Jonathan Quick's shoulders. He proved last year that he can step up and almost win the Cup by himself. Just look at that save he made on Joe Pavelski late in Game 7. That was incredible. But that was the Sharks. The Blackhawks have too much firepower. They are too deep for the Kings defense to stop. Chicago won two out of three meetings during the regular season and I envision them winning both Games 1 and 2 at home before losing Game 3 then closing it out with wins in Games 4 and 5.

Expect a monster series from Jonathan Toews.

Bonus Bets:

Blackhawks +250 to win the Cup

You aren’t going to get better odds for the Blackhawks this year. People are so high on Pittsburgh right now that the Blackhawks are suddenly very under-valued. They have almost double the odds of the Penguins, who are +130 to win the Cup. Even if you think the Penguins are the better team you should be in on Chicago at +250. On the off chance the Bruins pull off the upset, Chicago will be -200 favorites in the Finals and if they do play Pittsburgh they might be +120 at best. Again this line is this high because people are riding high on LA and are down on Chicago for reasons that don’t make sense to me. Chicago was the best team all year, MAYBE the Penguins are the better team on paper now but they aren’t twice as good as Chicago. Not even close.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

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