2016 NHL Futures – Series Picks
Looking for Blues vs. Blackhawks free series predictions & playoff picks? You’ve come to the right place if you’re searching for NHL Futures. It almost seems like it wouldn’t be an NHL Playoffs without the St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks meeting. Cappers Picks covers all 2016 NHL Playoff series – so check back as we’ll be adding more.
NHL Lines & Matchup Insight
NHL Betting – St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks First Round Series Preview and Picks
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks begin their Title defense on Wednesday night against a familiar foe – Central Division Conference-mate, the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues have been a team on the cusp for years but just haven’t been able to rise to the occasion in the postseason while the Hawks – they are battle tested and the unquestioned favorite to represent the West in the Stanley Cup playoffs again.
St. Louis won the season series 3-2 – will that success finally translate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as they try to knock off the most successful organization of the last decade?
Let’s break it down.
St. Louis Blues vs. Chicago Blackhawks Series Lines
Chicago Blackhawks -110
St. Louis Blues -110
- Wed 4/13, 9:30pm: CHI @ STL | NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports
- Fri 4/15, 8pm: CHI @ STL | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
- Sun 4/17, 3pm: STL @ CHI | NBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
- Tue 4/19, 9:30pm: STL @ CHI | NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
- *Thu 4/21, TBD: CHI @ STL | TBD
- *Sat 4/23, TBD: STL @ CHI | TBD
- *Mon 4/25, TBD: CHI @ STL | TBD
Blues vs. Blackhawks Free Series Predictions: Forwards
The St. Louis Blues have always prided themselves on having a big, strong and talented forward group – this year is no different. Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes, Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, Robby Fabbri, Troy Brouwer, Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz are a formidable top 9 indeed.
The Blues have the elite goal scoring threat in Tarasenko, the responsible two-way shut-down center in Alex Steen and the size and grit to make life miserable for the Hawks for sure – the question is whether or not they can finally rise to the occasion on Hockey’s biggest stage.
Now for the Hawks.
Names like Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, perhaps the best second line in the game that features Patrick Kane, rookie Artemi Panarin and center Artem Anisimov and some terrific trade deadline acquisitions on the form of Andrew Ladd, Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise make the Hawks the best forward group in the playoffs yet again.
Verdict: The Hawks have the slight edge in terms of forward depth especially since the league’s top point-getter Patrick Kane who has over 100 points skates on the second line!
We haven’t seen the best of Jonathan Toews all season long and Marian Hossa seems to rise to the occasion EVERY postseason! My guess is that doesn’t change and a Chicago offense that ranked 6th during the Regular Season outshines a Blues forward unit that was 15th in goals per game.
Blues vs. Blackhawks Free Series Predictions: Defense and Goaltending
Any Ken Hitchcock coached team is going to be strong defensively – period, and the Blues will have to be in order to stay in the series with the Blackhawks. Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester are as solid a 1-2 punch as there is in the game.
Rookies Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson have proven to be dependable defenders and the forwards on the team are as responsible in their own end as any group in the league.
In net Jake Allen has played 47 games and has a .920 save percentage and Brian Elliot who may play a big part due to the injury to Allen are solid to say the least. Simply put the Blues should be fine between the pipes especially with the defensive ahead of them.
The Hawks defense took a bit of a step back this season, finishing 9th in goals against. And with Duncan Keith’ suspension for the first game, Chicago could be a tad vulnerable on the back end.
That said, the eventual return of Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, Erik Gustafsson and Viktor Svedberg, and veteran Christian Ehrhoff make Chicago a top tier defense once again – a terrific compliment to an offense that has the firepower to take over the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In goal, Corey Crawford had a career-best season and that is saying a lot! Crawford was injured toward the end of the season and didn’t get a whole lot of game action down the stretch. Still, with his experience and his all around game, Crawford should be fine.
If he is indeed still a little nicked, Scott Darling is there to provide more-than-adequate goaltending.
Verdict: Experience on the biggest stage gives the Hawks the advantage here.
The Hawks know what it takes to get it done while the Blues haven’t been able to put it all together at the most important time of the year.
Keith, Seabrook, Hjalmarsson and Crawford make the Hawks better prepared than any team in the Stanley Cup playoffs and therefore have the edge over the Blues.
Blues vs. Blackhawks Free Series Predictions:
One of the better rivalries in the NHL should be typically entertaining but I just can’t overlook the fact that Chicago has won three of the last six Stanley Cups with mostly the same core group.
I expect the Blues size and strength to be a challenge for Chicago but in the end the Hawks look to be on a path for another long run in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In a close, hard-fought series I like the Blackhawks to win the series in six!
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