Between them, Chicago and Detroit have 15 Stanley Cups since entering the NHL in 1926, and they used to be division rivals in the old Norris. The two will meet in the postseason for the first time since 2009.
The seventh-seeded Red Wings knocked out No. 2 Anaheim with a 3-2 win on the road in Game 7, their lone regulation win in the series. The vets were the story as Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk combined for five goals and 15 points against the Ducks, while Jimmy Howard made some timely saves in goal for a Detroit team that many had counted out before the postseason even began.
The No. 1 ‘Hawks stormed past Minnesota in five games as Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa scored a total of eight goals, while Patrick Kane added five assists for the Presidents’ Trophy winners. However, we all know their offense is good; the play of Corey Crawford will be in the spotlight if the Blackhawks are going to get back to the Cup finals. Crawford posted a 1.32 GAA and a .950 save percentage in the first round.
This Western Conference semifinal kicks off Wednesday night in Chicago, and the Blackhawks have dominated the Red Wings as of late, winning their last seven meetings overall against Detroit, including all four during the regular season. Both teams have a ton of experience in the postseason, and it could come down to the play in goal, where Howard and Crawford will be under a lot of pressure.
The ‘Hawks are big favorites on the betting lines given their play in the regular season, but Detroit is one of the more dangerous underdogs we’ve seen in recent years. Chicago surely won’t overlook and considering they won all four regular season meetings, they should be fairly confident in knowing what they need to do to get the job done.
Pick: Blackhawks in 6