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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Detroit Red Wings Free Game 3 Pick | NHL Preview

Wings Hope to Ride Wave Of Confidence to Game 3 Victory

To a man the Detroit Red Wings said they would be better in Game 2 of the Western Conference semi final after losing Game 1, 4-1 and they backed up their claim in a big way for Detroit’s first win against Chicago in nine tries – the Red Wings’ first in regulation since April 2011.

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Chicago Blackhawks (41-8-1-5) at Detroit Red Wings (29-19-4-5)
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, May 20, 2013
Where: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Broadcast: CBC, RDS, NBCSN
Series tied 1-1
Hawks vs. Wings Betting Lines from from Bovada
Chicago Blackhawks -1½ +225 -131 Ov 5 +104
Detroit Red Wings +1½ -265 +119 Un 5 -115

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The Blackhawks were on a 9-0-2 run against the Wings in 11 games prior to Saturday’s contest. Chicago, the best team in the NHL during the regular season must now find a way to win at least one game in Detroit in order to move on. But momentum is not exactly on their side ahead of Monday night’s showdown.

Chicago didn’t look like the team that steamrolled through the regular season and the first round of the playoffs on Saturday. They were outworked and outmuscled at every turn and only managed 21 shots on goal against Jimmy Howard – their least output a Stanley Cup Playoff game since April 27, 2009. Do we give them a mulligan or is there something to the game plan that the Wings were able to execute?

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Chicago has to hope to get more out of Jonathan Toews who inexplicably has disappeared in the playoffs yet again – just three assists in seven games so far. Toews is in an eight-game playoff scoring slump that dates to last year. He has just three goals combined in three postseasons since scoring seven goals to help Chicago win the Cup in 2010.

Not sure what to make of that! Brent Seabrook is pointless in the playoffs so far and Viktor Stalberg, arguably the fastest Hawk is pointless in four but should return to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the series.

It’s a good thing for Patrick Kane who scored his first goal of the playoffs Saturday but continues to provide more than his share of helper. Kane now has seven points in seven games, Patrick Sharp has a six game points scoring streak and Marion Hossa continues to be dangerous with four points in his last three games.

Chicago absolutely has to be better defensively in Game 3 as well. Frequent mistakes and some uncharacteristically sloppy play in their own end were directly responsible for the four goals against Saturday. Corey Crawford had his worst game in eons in Game 2 – just a .867 save percentage. Count on a bounce back game from him.

The Wings’ youngsters are getting it done! Rookie Brendan Smith scored the winning goal Saturday and Damien Brunner scored another goal after also scoring in the series opener. Gustav Nyquist has a game winner in the playoffs and Joakim Andersson ranks among rookie scoring leaders.[ad-4437448]

Detroit is surprisingly deep and of course they have their leaders that showed up in a big way and delivered in Game 2.

Henrik Zetterberg set up a pair of goals, including the game-winner Saturday. Zetterberg had 10 points in the final four games of the regular season, each a Detroit win, as the Red Wings secured a playoff berth on the final day. He had five points in two elimination games to help the Red Wings upset the second-seeded Ducks in seven games.

To say he’s raising the level of his game is a colossal understatement! And then there’s the best player in the NHL Pavel Datsyuk who has been quiet but is certainly due to break out against Chicago.

As surprisingly dangerous as the Wings have looked on offense they have been good defensively as well with Jimmy Howard leading the way. He only had to make 19 stops on Saturday but he has been dependable as they come the last month or so for the Wings.

He looked good Saturday, and like many Detroit players gained a ton of confidence against a team that had absolutely owned them the last couple of years.

Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:

• Under is 7-0-1 in CHI last 8 road games.
• CHI are 39-12 in their last 51 vs. Central.
• CHI are 21-7 in their last 28 road games.
• Under is 7-2-3 in DET last 12 vs. Central.
• Under is 13-5-8 in DET last 26 overall.
• DET are 4-10 in their last 14 vs. Central.
• CHI are 8-1 in the last 9 meetings.
• Under is 17-6-3 in the last 26 meetings.

Chicago didn’t lose two straight games all year long and I can’t see them starting now. Sure the Wings brought the game to them on Saturday but the Hawks won’t be caught off guard again. Call it a “wake-up call” or call it a necessary loss – Chicago is too good to look so bad two games in a row.

The Wings were vulnerable at home this season shockingly and will have all sorts of trouble with a motivated Chicago team in Game 3.

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -131


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