NHL Hockey Betting: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues

NHL Hockey Betting:  Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues&h=235&w=320&zc=1

No Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year but that won’t stop anyone from watching. In this matchup, we’ve got the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks taking on the #2 overall team in the Western Conference, the St. Louis Blues. The Blues took the victory in Game One though were outplayed on both ends of the ice by the Blackhawks. Chicago outshot St. Louis 35-18 but a lucky David Backes goal in overtime combined with another great performance in net by Brian Elliott and the Hawks find themselves down 1-0 in this best of seven series.

Chicago is by all accounts still very confident and they should be–they were the better team in Game One, the result notwithstanding. We’re already seeing a big problem that plagued St. Louis in their opening round upset loss to Minnesota last year manifest themselves against Chicago this year. The most problematic issue is their lack of scoring chances. Chicago wasn’t great at limiting opposing shots during the regular season giving up over 30 per game. This isn’t a ‘shutdown defense’ that the Blues are facing and yet they only got 18 shots on Corey Crawford. On the other end of the ice, they’re giving up too many shots against. This isn’t as big of an issue at the moment with the way that Brian Elliott has been playing but getting outshot roughly 2-1 isn’t going to work in the playoffs.

St. Louis has performed well against Chicago at home of late–they’ve won 8 of the last 11 head to head meetings. They also hold a 12-10 advantage in the last 22 games overall. The Blues have a big playoff performance ‘monkey on their back’ at the moment and they’ll need to play better if they’re going to advance. Maybe Brian Elliott can keep stealing games like he did in Game One but that’s eventually going to come back to bite St. Louis. The longer they let Chicago stay in this series the more confident the Blackhawks will become–and a confident Chicago team is a very dangerous opponent. Big game for St. Louis tonight but if Chicago can do what they did last time they’ll even this up at a game a piece heading back to the United Center for Game 3.

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