St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks playoff preview April 22, 2014-it's okay to get mad, just don't get upset
NHL Western Conference Playoff Betting Preview: St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks
The St. Louis Blues were the sports betting favorites to win the Western Conference. Despite being the favorites, everyone knew they would have a tough 1st round series against the defending Stanley Cup Champion, Chicago Blackhawks. Currently, the Blues are up two games to one heading into Wednesday night's Game 4. However, the Blues could easily be down three games to none. In Game 1, the Blues won a triple overtime game which was a game for the ages. Jaden Schwartz scored for the Blues with just a few minutes left in regulation to tie the game at three goals apiece. Then in overtime, Alexander Steen scored in sudden death to give the Blues the Game 1 victory.
Although Game 2 was not a triple overtime game, it was still exciting as it still involved overtime. This game was a very dramatic sea saw battle. The Blues took a commanding two goal lead in the first period, getting goals from Chris Porter and Kevin Shattenkirk. Chicago then scored three unanswered goals. The scoring came from Keith Duncan, Brent Seabrook and Michael Rozsival. With less than five minutes to play in regulation; Brent Seabrook smashed Blues' captain David Backes. Seabrook was given a five minute major for charging, as well as a ten minute game misconduct penalty. Seabrook is currently serving a three game suspension for his vicious hit. The Blues now had their chance to go on the power play and tie the game. The Blues ranked 8th in the NHL in the power play during the regular season. With seven seconds left to go in the 3rd period, Vladimir Tarasenko sent 19,000 Blues' fans into a frenzy with his game-tying goal. Barret Jackman then scored in overtime to give the Blues a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Despite Seabrook's hit, for some strange reason Chicago's goalie Corey Crawford seem to be blamed for the two loses. Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said he had a chat with Crawford. "He said he needs to be better and he needs to be better." Quenneville said. Despite losing the first two games, Crawford did play well and gave his team a chance to win both of those games. In Game 1, he stopped over 92 percent of the shots he faced. Nevertheless, Crawford shouldered the responsibility in Game 3, as he shutout the Blues for the 2-0 win. Crawford stopped all 34 shots on net against him. He attributed his better goalie playing to his positioning. "I was a little bit lower in my stance." Not only was head coach Queensville proud of his goalie's effort, so was Blackhawks' captain Jonathan Toews. Toews said after the victory, "I think it just sets an example for everyone in this room."
Now the question is what happens in Game 4. For Chicago to have won Game 3; they had to be near perfect defensively. They did not receive a lot on the offense end. Toews scored early in Game 3, but Chicago did not score until Marcus Kruger scored an empty net goal at the end of the 3rd period. The Blues shot 11 shots on net in the 3rd period. This means the game was in doubt throughout, despite Crawford's shutout. Considering Game 5 is in St. Louis, Game 4 is a must-win for Chicago. Chicago ranked 2nd in scoring in the regular season with 3.2 goals per game. Look for Chicago to score early and get the crowd involved in Game 4. This will mean a lot of shots from Toews, Duncan and Seabrook. However, the Blues did feature the 3rd best ranked defense in the NHL in the regular season. If the Blues can hold the Blackhawks to two goals, as they did in Game 3, they will most likely not blow their opportunity to take a 3 games to 1 series' lead.
* Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change due to time sensitivity. Please visit the sports betting lines for up to date odds.
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