NHL Western Conference Finals Game #2 Betting Picks: Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Western Conference Finals – Game #2
Los Angeles Kings at Chicago Blackhawks
Blackhawks Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Wednesday, May 21. 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: Chicago -150 / Los Angeles +130
Current line: Chicago -155 / Los Angeles +135
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -130 / over 5 +110
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last year for the second time in four years last season. The beat the Los Angeles Kings in five games in the Western Conference Finals last year route to the Cup. The two teams meet again the Western Finals. The Blackhawks got off to a good start in Sunday’s game one in Chicago with a 3-1 win. The Kings look to even the series in game two Wednesday night before the series shifts to LA for games 3 and 4 starting Saturday. Chicago has won 20 of the last 27 games against LA including six straight in Chicago.
Chicago scored first with just over five minutes to go in the first period on a power play goal from Brandon Saad with assists from Nick Leddy and Marian Hossa. Early in the second period, the Blackhawks appeared to take a 2-0 lead but the goal by Jonathan Toews was disallowed because of incidental contact with Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick. Less than a minute later, LA tied the game at 1-1 on a goal from Tyler Toffoli with assists from Tanner Pearson and Jeff Carter. Chicago regained the lead with just over 8 minutes to go in the second on a goal from Duncan Keith with assists from Saad and Marcus Kruger. Toews made it 3-1 with just under 4 minutes to go in the game with assists from Johnny Oduya and Hossa. Neither team would score again as Chicago took game one.
The Kings actually outshot the Blackhawks 26-20 but Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 25 saves. LA had 17 of their 26 shots in the second period but Crawford was able to withstand the barrage. Quick made 17 saves. LA was 0 for 2 on the power play and Chicago was 1 for 2. Each team won 31 faceoffs. Los Angeles had 34 hits to 25 for Chicago. The Blackhawks forced six takeaways.
Los Angeles is coached by Darryl Sutter. The Kings are 54-35-2-6 this season and the total was 22-41-19 during the regular season. Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks are 55-25-7-8 this season and the total was 39-42-1 during the regular season.
Los Angeles is outscoring teams 3.07-2.67 in the playoffs. The Kings are second in goals scored and fifth in goals allowed. LA is averaging 30.4 shots per game and opponents average 29.9 per game. The Kings are 11 for 50 on the power play (22%) in the playoffs. LA is 82.8% on the penalty kill and has allowed 10 power play goals. The Kings have won 52.6% of face-offs in the postseason.
Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick has a goals against average of 2.75 in the playoffs with a save percentage of .912. He has allowed 39 goals in 441 shots faced with one shutout. Quick is 8-7 in the playoffs so far. Quick struggled in the first 3 games against the Sharks and was benched twice in those games. San Jose outscored the Kings 17-8 in the first 3 games, but LA outscored them 18-5 for the rest of the series. Quick has given up 3 goals or less in 11 of the last 12 games for the Kings.
LA Center Anze Kopitar leads all scorers in the playoffs with 19 points including 14 assists. Right wing Marian Gaborik has 15 points and leads the playoffs in goals with 9. Center Jeff Carter has 4 goals and 8 assists. Right wing Justin Williams (5 goals, 6 assists) has 11 points. Defenseman Drew Doughty has 9 points with 8 assists. Center Tyler Toffoli has 8 points. Defenseman Jake Muzzin has 7 points. Defenseman Robyn Regehr is doubtful Wednesday with an upper body injury.
Chicago is outscoring teams 2.92-2.15 in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are sixth in goals scored and second in goals allowed. Chicago is averaging 26.5 shots per game and opponents are averaging 31.1 shots per game in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are 7 for 35 on the power play (20%). Chicago leads the playoffs on the penalty kill at 91.7% and has only allowed 4 power play goals. Chicago has won 51.1% of face-offs.
Blackhawks’ goalie Corey Crawford has a 1.90 GAA with a .933 save percentage. Crawford has allowed 27 goals in 403 shots faced, and has one shutout. Crawford is 9-4 in the playoffs.
Right wing Marian Hossa has 13 points with 11 assists. Defenseman Brent Seabrook has 11 points with 9 assists. Center Jonathan Toews has 11 points with six goals and five assists. Right wing Patrick Kane has 10 points with 6 goals and 4 assists. Left wing Brian Bickell has 9 points with 6 goals. Defenseman Duncan Keith (3G, 6A), LW Brandon Saad (3G, 6A) and LW Patrick Sharp (2G, 4A) also contribute to the scoring. Center Andrew Shaw is day to day with a lower body injury. Shaw missed game one. Third string goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Antti Raanta is the back-up in case something happens to Crawford.
LA is 22-7 in Wednesday games, 5-2 in road games, 4-9 against Central Division teams, 1-5 after scoring two goals or less in the previous game and in conference finals games, and 1-7 after the opponent allows less than 2 goals in the previous game. The under is 38-18-8 in this series recently including 18-6-2 in Chicago.
Chicago is 9-19 in conference finals games, 7-1 after a win, 6-1 after allowing 2 goals or less in the previous game, 9-2 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, 4-1 when the opponent scores 2 goals or less in the previous game, 50-17 at home, 15-6 against Pacific Division teams. 61-27 against teams with winning road records, 42-19 in Wednesday games, and 4-12 on 2 days rest. The home team is 4-1 in this series recently. The Blackhawks have won 16 of the last 21 games in Chicago against the Kings.
The Kings had to play game one in Chicago less than 48 hours after they beat the Anaheim Ducks in game seven Friday night in Anaheim. Fatigue was a factor as the Blackhawks had a few days off after beating the Minnesota Wild in six games in their second round series. Still, fatigue or not, the Blackhawks have dominated this series recently. I like Chicago to win a close game two to take a 2-0 lead to Los Angeles.
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