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Coyotes vs. Blackhawks Game 6 NHL Playoff Free Picks | Preview

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks Pick

The Chicago Blackhawks do not know the word quit! For the fourth time in the series they were able to tie game in the third period to force overtime Saturday night. Now after five extra time games in five games played, the weary Blackhawks will try to stave off elimination once again on Monday night against the pesky Phoenix Coyotes.

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Phoenix Coyotes at Chicago Blackhawks
When: 9:00 PM ET, Monday, April 23, 2012
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: TSN, CNBC, FS-A PLUS (HD)
Coyotes lead series 3-2
Coyotes vs. Hawks Betting Lines from betonline.com
Spread: Blackhawks -1 ½ (+200)
Moneyline: Coyotes +132: Blackhawks -145
Over/Under: 5 goals

Matchup | Preview 

The Phoenix Coyotes could easily be where the Kings, the Preds and the Blues are – if not for third period letdowns that have allowed the Blackhawks to claw back into games. Now they are faced with the prospect of going into Chicago, one of the toughest buildings in the game to again attempt to eliminate the Hawks. It’s not like they haven’t had success in Chicago – the Coyotes have won all four games that they have played in the Windy City this season.

Offense hasn’t been the reason for Phoenix’s 3-2 lead in the series thus far. They are getting outshot, they aren’t generating many quality scoring opportunities and if not for Mikkel Boedker and his two overtime goals in the series, they Coyotes just may have been the ones playing for their lives on Monday night.

Mike Smith has been the story and he will have to continue to be in Game 6 if the Coyotes want to send the Hawks packing. Smith made 36 saves in Game 5 and is 2-0-1 in the series with a 1.82 goals against average and a .944 save percentage.

The Chicago Blackhawks are no strangers to tight games which should give them an advantage. They have played a staggering eight straight extra-time games overall and dating back to last year’s playoff’s they have gone to overtime in seven straight in the post season. [ad-4437448]

With names like Keith, Seabrook, Toews, Kane and Sharp it is obvious who the more talented team is. But can they put it all together in order to send this series back to Phoenix?

Offensively the Hawks have to be encouraged by Jonathan Toews’ overtime goal in Game 5. If he wakes up, Chicago is a completely different team. Michael Frolik has been a great surprise with two goals and an assist in three games, Dave Bolland has three points in gout games and Patrick Kane has four assists in the series. So what’s the problem?

Corey Crawford is the problem – he has been utterly outplayed by Mike Smith. Crawford was better in Game 5 which is a good sign but his overall save percentage of .895 is certainly not awe-inspiring! It will be up to the offense to pick up the slack for the average goaltending that Chicago is receiving or it will be tee times instead of game times for the Hawks.

Betting Prediction: As mentioned, there is absolutely no doubt which is the more talented of the two teams. But on the flip side, it is becoming more evident which team has more heart. Unfortunately for Phoenix, talent should trump heart on Monday night – nobody beats the Hawks five straight times at the United Center and the Coyotes won’t be the first!

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -145

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