The odds will favor the winner of this crucial Game 5 between the Chicago Blackhawks (48-28-6) and Anaheim Ducks (51-24-7) as the two clash with their Western Conference finals series all knotted at 2-2, tonight at the Honda Center (9:00 PM Eastern).
The winner of a Game 5 in a tied series has gone on to win the series 79 percent of the time, although Tampa Bay overcame those odds earlier in these playoffs against Detroit.
Chicago tied the series on Saturday night with their fourth overtime win this postseason; a 5-4 victory at home. The Blackhawks have struggled to dominate in either of their wins, but their experience makes this series one of the most interesting this year.
“I think [the Blackhawks] know they’re in a series,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau to the Associated Press. “I mean, I don’t think they think they’ve had it very easy. It’s our job to continue to make them feel that way.”
The Ducks are yet to lose in regulation these playoffs, but their hard-hitting game plan hasn’t broken a tired Chicago team who fought back with 52 hits in Game 4, the most they’ve had in a game this series.
“I think it’s both ways,” Chicago winger Bryan Bickell told AP. “They are wearing us down, but they’re getting tired from wearing us down.”
Anaheim’s aggressive style has also led to a lot more time in the box. While Chicago’s powerplay hasn’t been outstanding; they have scored at least one powerplay goal in each of their wins so far.
“This series is pretty amazing,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville explained to the Associated Press. “Every game is very close, very competitive. The road to trying to win the Cup has some amazing swings and highs, lows and twists and turns. The deeper you get in series, it is all the more challenging. Our group’s experience and know-how and the will to find ways, last night was a great demonstration of that.”
The Ducks are the favorites to win Monday thanks to their dominant home record. However, the betting trends say the best bet is in the game total as four of seven games between these two this year have gone under the total.
(Photo credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)