NHL Hockey Free Predictions: Blackhawks vs Sharks – Game Two
San Jose: 51-20-11
Chicago Leads Series 1-0
Blackhawks: +120 +1.5 (-240) Over 5.5 (-115)
Sharks: -140 -1.5 (+200) Under 5.5 (-105)
Blackhawks vs. Sharks Preview
For those of you who were expecting the Chicago Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks to just feel each other out in Game 1 of their series – surprise! This was a wide open affair that generated 85 shots on goal and several game saving saves. For two teams whose strength is not in goal, the keepers sure did play a huge role in Sunday’s game.
Nobody would have held any ill-will toward the Chicago Blackhawks if they came out flat in Game 1 of the Western Conference Final. Instead, they came out on enemy ice and played what was nearly the perfect road game.
Perfect not only because they won, but also because they held the home team to just one goal and the home crowd in their seats. Chicago is now 6-1 on the road in this year’s playoffs.
Offensively the Blackhawks looked fairly sharp. Although they were only able to beat Evgeni Nabokov twice, the Hawks did manage to generate 40 shots. Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp scored for the Hawks and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were typically dynamic. Chicago’s speed and forecheck game was on full display on Sunday which is a good sign going forward.
The Hawks defense played very well too. They did allow 45 shots on goal but were also responsible for killing off the only five penalties that were called in the game.
In total, Chicago was short handed for nine plus minutes to the Sharks zero!
Antti Niemi was the story of Game 1 and emerged as the first star in a game full of stars.
The San Jose Sharks had their four game home winning streak snapped by Chicago in Game 1 and will be looking to start a new streak on Tuesday night. Their loss was more a product of not being able to convert on their power plays rather than poor play. A hot Antti Niemi didn’t help their cause that much either.
The top line for the Sharks is going to have to be better – sound familiar? Although they were responsible for setting up the Sharks only goal of the game, they were also on the ice for both of the Hawks goals.
Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley were all minus two in a game that the Sharks could have easily won.
The Sharks defense did a surprisingly good job against the relentless attack of the young Hawks. Although they were not able to stop the Hawks from using their speed and skill in the offensive zone, they were able to limit the effectiveness through fundamental physical play.
Evgeni Nabokov was terrific and probably deserved a better fate.
If Game 2 of the Western Conference is anything like Game 1, tune in! The play is fast and furious.
Look for the Sharks to get their power play going and even up what promises to be an even series right until the end.
NHL Betting Trends:
San Jose is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
San Jose is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of San Jose’s last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of San Jose’s last 7 games when playing Chicago
Chicago is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Chicago is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing San Jose
Chicago is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Chicago is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against San Jose
Game 2 Pick: San Jose Sharks