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NHL Free Pick: Ducks vs. Blackhawks Betting Lines & Preview

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Weekly NHL Betting action sees the Anaheim Ducks taking on the Chicago Blackhawks May 21 at United Center. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

The Heavyweight showdown that is the NHL Western Conference Final continues Thursday night in the Windy City when the Chicago Blackhawks try to carry momentum from a thrilling triple Overtime Game 2 win against Anaheim.

Daily NHL Hockey Odds

Series tied 1-1
Anaheim (60-24-4-5) at Chicago (57-31-3-3)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, May 21, 2015
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: CBC, TVA, NBCSN
Ducks NHL Betting Odds: +1½ -255 +118
Blackhawks NHL Betting Odds: -1½ +215 -130
NHL Over Under Betting Odds: Over 5 -135, Under 5 +123
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This series boasts a ton of offensive talent for sure but it has been the goaltenders that have stolen the show. Will the Hawks hold serve in Game 3 or will the Ducks be able to take back home ice advantage with a win Thursday night?

For the second game in a row, the Anaheim Ducks started slowly but unlike Game 1 it cost them in Game 2. Trailing 2-0 early because of penalties Anaheim clawed back and carried play at times throughout the rest of the game.

The Ducks went 0-for-5 on the power play, the penalty killing surrendered two goals on five chances and the big guns didn’t bring their best again in Game 2.

That’s the bad news. Now for the good! There is a ton of room for improvement for the Ducks. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf haven’t been monsters on the score sheet but they have been dangerous every shift. The Anaheim perceived lack of depth doesn’t seem to be an issue and goaltender Frederik Andersen has been absolutely remarkable so far in the playoffs.

The Ducks offense has done some good things – six different players have scored Anaheim’s six goals in the series – Perry netted his first of the series on Tuesday night.

Perry has thrived on the road so far this postseason – he has two goals and two assists in four road games in the playoffs and certainly looks like a threat to have a breakout game soon. The Ducks are still the highest scoring team in the playoffs – they are dangerous for sure.

Frederik Andersen made 53 saves on Tuesday night – another terrific night for a goaltender that is quickly making a name for himself. After Tuesday’s loss he is 9-2 in the playoffs and has surrendered 2.00 goals per game – incredible.

Anaheim knows they can take some chances and that their keeper will be there to bail them out more times than not.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford outdueled Andersen in Game 2 – he made 60 saves to steal the game – many of which were of the highlight variety.

Crawford has all-but erased his slow start to the postseason and is beginning to resemble the keeper that led the Hawks to the Cup a couple of years ago – he is 4-1-0 with a 1.52 GAA and .952 save percentage in his last five starts overall.

At home Crawford has been extra special so far in the playoffs – he is 3-0 with a 1.42 GAA and .948 save percentage.

Crawford will likely have to be the best player on the ice once again Thursday – Chicago’s top 4 defensemen logged a ton of ice time in Game 2 and will be tasked with absorbing a lot of minutes again in Game 3 – less than 48 hours after the triple overtime marathon of Tuesday night.

Duncan Keith logged just under 50 minutes of ice time in Game 2, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook played for over 47 minutes and Johnny Oduya logged about 46 minutes – yikes! Exhaustion could creep in for sure – nobody would blame the Chicago D-Men.

The Blackhawks offense will have to step up in order to help out their D-Men as well. Patrick Kane has yet to score in the series but has four goals and two assists in five games at home in the playoffs. Kane will absolutely have to get going in order for Chicago to have a chance.

Patrick Sharp is pointless in his last three games and Brandon Saad hasn’t hit the score sheet in five games as well.

Unfortunately for Chicago the depth battle is going to the Ducks so far – something that is going to have to change in the series.

NHL Gambling Trends

• ANA are 7-1 in their last 8 road games.
• ANA are 38-15 in their last 53 vs. Central.
• Over is 5-2-2 in ANA last 9 overall.
• Over is 4-1-3 in CHI last 8 overall.
• Over is 4-1-3 in CHI last 8 vs. Western Conference.
• CHI are 8-3 in their last 11 Thu. games.
• Under is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings in Chicago.
• Under is 20-6-2 in the last 28 meetings.

The Chicago Blackhawks are 5-0 in the playoffs so far. The Ducks have won three of their four road games in the playoffs so far and they have won four of the last five meetings in Chicago. Expect the Ducks to get back to the furious fore-check game and to wear down the worn out Chicago defense.

NHL Betting 4* Free Play

The Ducks hit three goal posts in Overtime of Game 2 – karma has to pay them back.

Anaheim Ducks +118

Anaheim takes Game 3 and puts the pressure back on Chicago.

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