Chicago Blackhawks (+119) at Minnesota Wild (-131, 5 o/u)
Thanks to a resurgent Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks are one game away from booking a spot in the Western Conference finals. Up 3-0 in their best of seven series with the Minnesota Wild, the Hawks will look to sweep the Zach Parise and company when they meet in Game 4 tonight at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul (9:30 PM Eastern).
The return Kane to the lineup in the postseason has been a game-changer for Chicago. The dynamic forward – and 2012 Conn Smythe Award winner – has scored in four straight games, including netting the only goal in Chicago’s 1-0 win in Game 3.
“I was trying to get back as quick as possible,” Kane said about returning from a broken clavicle just in time for the postseason. “Sometimes it takes a little while, sometimes you catch it right away. I don’t know if I have it completely back yet, but it’s one of those things when you’re scoring goals and putting pucks in the back of the net, things look a little better than they actually are.”
The Wild found themselves down 2-0 to the Blackhawks last year, as well, but were able to win Games 3 and 4 on home ice to make a series out of it. This season, the offense has let the team down, scoring just five goals through the first three games of the series.
“It’s obviously frustrating. It’s not fun,” said winger Jason Pominville. “We’re getting opportunities, which is usually a good sign. Every line had some looks. We weren’t able to put one in.”
The Wild have been down 3-0 twice in franchise history – in 2003 and 2007 both against the Anaheim Ducks. They went on to be swept in ’03 and lost four games to one in ’07.
With Kane and Chicago rolling – and finally getting some solid goaltending from Corey Crawford – the Blackhawks’ moneyline (+119) looks like better value.
Pick: Chicago (+119).
(Photo credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_7562) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo may appear cropped.)