NHL Playoff Betting – Blackhawks vs Flyers Series Preview & Pick
Stanley Cup Betting fans sure are getting their money’s worth from the free nhl picks we give out here at Capperspicks.com. There are now 2 teams competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Stick with us for the entire 2010 NHL Stanley Cup finals playoff run.
GAME 1: @CHI, Sat. 5/29, 8 p.m.
GAME 2: @CHI, Mon. 5/31, 8 p.m.
GAME 3: @PHI, Wed. 6/2, 8 p.m.
GAME 4: @PHI, Fri. 6/4, 8 p.m.
*GAME 5: @CHI, Sun. 6/6, 8 p.m.
*GAME 6: @PHI, Wed. 6/9, 8 p.m.
*GAME 7: @CHI, Fri. 6/11, 8 p.m.
Blackhawks vs Flyers Odds To Win 7 Game Series: NHL FINAL SERIES PRICES BEST OF SEVEN 2-2-1-1-1
3101 FLYERS SERIES +215
3102 BLACKHAWKS SERIES -255
This should be exciting.
The Olympics already made 2010 a banner year for hockey in North America, the first few rounds of the playoffs continued that trend, and now we’re treated to one of the best big-market Stanley Cup final matchups in years. The Philadelphia Flyers haven’t won it all since the Broad Street Bullies’ glory days of the mid-1970s. The Chicago Blackhawks hope to end their NHL-worst, 49-year Cup drought.
Who will hoist Lord Stanley’s Mug? Here’s my breakdown of the series, complete with odds and my pick.
STANLEY CUP FINAL: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS VS CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Game 1: Saturday, May 29, 8:00 p.m. ET
NHL odds to win series: Flyers +210, Blackhawks -240
Comparing the Flyers’ and Hawks’ offenses accomplishes two things: it shows us how similar their game plans are and that one team does the same thing as the other, but slightly better.
The Flyers employ a vicious, smothering forecheck – and that’s a staple of any Peter Laviolette-coached team. The harder hitters like Daniel Carcillo, Scott Hartnell and Mike Richards crash and bang the heck out of opposing blueliners and the smaller forwards like Arron Asham and Claude Giroux drape themselves on guys to force turnovers. The strategy worked brilliantly against the tiny Devils D, the undermanned Bruins group and the slow Habs unit.
Chicago’s strategy isn’t much different. It uses its tremendous size through guys like Dustin Byfuglien, Dave Bolland and, of course, runaway Conn Smythe Trophy favorite Jonathan Toews to hammer opponents on the forecheck. Arguably, however, the Hawks have more depth. Even their “skill” players, like Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, are very strong on the puck and not afraid to get physical. Chicago rolls three lines with legit scoring ability. How about that third line of Bolland, Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd? Most teams would kill to have that trio as their second line.
Considering that Simon Gagne and Jeff Carter aren’t 100 per cent for the Flyers right now (broken feet), Chicago has the scoring edge. We also can’t discount the fact that Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell’s rushing ability from the back end trumps anything the Flyers have on defense.
These are two extremely tough groups to play against. Chris Pronger is still a 30-minute-per-game horse and his game elevates in the playoffs because the referees let him get away with more. He has good support from smooth-skating Kimmo Timonen and big, well-rounded Braydon Coburn.
The Hawks are equally phenomenal in the back-end. The Flyers will bludgeon Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook with everything they have but those two guys can handle anything thrown at them since they have physicality to match their immense skill. Brent Sopel and Niklas Hjalmarsson are great role players, too.
We can definitely draw parallels between Michael Leighton and Anti Niemi. Both weren’t even sniffing starting jobs a year ago. Both have stood on their heads and stole the odd game in the playoffs. Both have also had to be just good, not great, more nights than not because of the outstanding defense in front of them. Seems like a pretty even matchup to me.
Both teams have played well on special teams throughout the playoffs, with just minor blips here and there. The Hawks’ and Flyers power play and penalty kills have been almost identical in their efficiency this postseason.
It feels natural to assume the talent-heavy Hawks have the better power play with Toews and Kane out there and Byfuglien in front of the net. But we forget that Flyer forwards like Carter, Gagne and Daniel Briere have always been power-play specialists.
On the PK, each team fields outstanding units. The Flyers have the NHL’s most disruptive penalty killing forward in Mike Richards and the Hawks have a boatload of outstanding options, including Toews and Hossa – one of the league’s most underrated backcheckers.
Both Peter Laviolette and Joel Quenneville have lots of great players to work with, but both men have legitimately boosted their teams’ efforts all season and throughout the playoffs. Laviolette has taught his team to be relentless on the forecheck but a bit more disciplined than before. Quenneville is a master of matchups, knowing when to put Keith and Seabrook on the ice and knowing when to split them up for maximum effectiveness.
As the matchup breakdown indicates, this an extremely close final to call. In the end, however, the fact of the matter is that Chicago does everything that Philly does – but does it ever so slightly better. It has just a bit more depth and talent at forward and defense. Its blueline will be the first in these playoffs to neutralize the Flyers’ forecheck. It has home ice and the healthier lineup. It’s Chicago’s year to end the drought. Your move, Maple Leafs.
Prediction: Blackhawks in six