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2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Picks – Blackhawks vs Canucks

NHL Playoff Betting – Blackhawks vs Canucks Series Preview & Pick

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2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS | #1 VANCOUVER CANUCKS vs. #8 CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Wednesday, April 13 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m. CBC (HD), VERSUS
Friday, April 15 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m. CBC (HD), VERSUS
Sunday, April 17 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. CBC (HD), VERSUS
Tuesday, April 19 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. CBC (HD), VERSUS
*Thursday, April 21 at Vancouver, 10:00 p.m. CBC (HD), VERSUS
*Sunday, April 24 at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. CBC (HD)
*Tuesday, April 26 at Vancouver, TBD CBC (HD)

Odds to Win Stanley Cup: Chicago +1500: Vancouver +300
Odds to Win Series: Chicago +180: Vancouver -240
Season series: Vancouver – 2-1-1; Chicago – 1-1-2.

It’s the time that all Vancouver Canucks fans have waited for all season long. How will Vancouver’s Best Regular Season Ever translate into the playoffs? Will this finally be the year that the perrenial underachievers break through and win Lord Stanley’s Cup?

In Vancouver’s way is the Chicago Blackhawks… again! While some Canucks may be happy to see the bumbling Hawks in the first round, there are fresh memories of two straight playoff exits at the hands of Chicago – the Hawks as we all know went on to win the Cup last season.

So, an incredible first round playoff matchup is set – Vancouver needs to exorcise some demons quickly or the defending champs will move on and send the Canucks to the golf course for the third consecutive season.

Offensively, Vancouver finished as the best offensive team in the NHL bolstered by the Art Ross Trophy winner for the second season in a row – this time Daniel. The Sedin boys will anchor the most potent Top Line in the game while 40 goal man Ryan Kesler will quarterback one of the most lethal second lines in the game. Vancouver’s third and fourth lines aren’t too bad either!

Defensively, Vancouver is healthy! For the first time all season, the Canucks were able to have all of their projected Top Six D-men on the ice at the same time in the last game of the season. (Ballard, Bieksa, Hamhuis, Salo, Edler, and Erhoff)

Vancouver is talented, they are physical and they are deep on the back end. Give GM Dan Gillis credit – after last year’s exit, he saw a void and he filled it with a ton of quality defensive players.

Vancouver is in fine hands when it comes to goaltending – the team led the NHL in goals against this season, has a rested Roberto Luongo at the top of his game and just in case, they have a backup that won 75% of his 26 starts this season.

The Chicago Blackhawks certainly have some work to do in defense of the crown. The team scraped into the playoffs and despite losing their finale, they ultimately benefitted from a Dallas Stars loss. Chicago is a team that has looked terrific at times this season but has also looked underwhelming at other.

The Hawks finished the season as the fourth best offensive team in the NHL. They, like the Canucks have two very potent offensive lines. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa are each world class talents that can make a difference each and every night.

Defensively, Chicago still boasts the best tandem in the NHL – Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith will be matched up against the Sedins and should be able to make life miserable for the twins just like in previous years. They are deep at the position and this depth certainly will be tested. The biggest question mark for Chicago in the post season is goaltending – are we ready to trust youngster Corey Crawford? I bet you said the same about Antti Niemi about this time last season!

Betting Prediction:

If the Hawks were entering this series in a hot streak, I would give them a chance but the fact that they stumbled down the stretch when everything was on the line tells me a bit about this team. The Hawks are not the team that they were last season and they are not quite in the elite category of teams that has a chance to knock off the juggernaut Canucks.

Look for Special Teams to be the difference – Vancouver’s top rated power play vs. Chicago’s second worst PK on home ice is an example of a matchup that seriously favors the Canucks. Vancouver is too deep, too talented and too motivated to be denied this season.

Pick: Vancouver Canucks -240 in 6

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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