The Ducks (51-24-7) don’t want to go back to Anaheim without their ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals and that’s why they’ll look to close out the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks (48-28-6) tonight at the United Center (8:00 PM Eastern).
Anaheim started as the favorite to represent the West in the Stanley Cup finals and now are one win away from proving oddsmakers right. The Ducks have averaged 3.7 goals-per-game in the playoffs, best in the postseason, and have scored nine goals in the last two games against Chicago, even though the Blackhawks allowed the least goals against in the regular season.
“The main thing that we’ve had throughout the playoffs is we’ve had scoring from all four lines and we’ve also had people on the back end who can pitch in every once in a while,” the Ducks’ Cam Fowler said to the Associated Press.
Anaheim already took Game 3 in Chicago, but it took a defensive game plan and another strong effort from Frederik Andersen in a 2-1 win.
This Chicago team has experience playing with their backs against the wall, but this is the first time they will be facing elimination these playoffs. The Blackhawks almost stole Game 5 with two late goals in the third period, but 45 seconds into overtime their chance to have their first lead in the series was gone.
“There’s a lot of history here that we’ve collected over seven years. A lot of positive things,” coach Joel Quenneville said to the AP. “I think we all came out of last night’s game with an anger and a real sour taste in our mouth. Sometimes that can be better than a history lesson.”
The last two games in the series have gone over the game total, and tonight should follow suit. As for a winner, look for Anaheim to finish off a tired Chicago team that should be out of magic.
Pick: Ducks +125.
(Photo Credit: Lisa Gansky from New York, NY, USA (IMG_7545) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)