BOSTON BRUINS at CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Chicago -150 & 5 under -145
After tying up the NHL Stanley Cup Finals in a wild Game 4, the Blackhawks return home Saturday to host the Bruins in an crucial Game 5.
This series has already been incredibly close, with three of the four games going to overtime and the teams separated by just one goal. The Blackhawks were able to tie up the series on Wednesday with a 6-5 overtime win, scoring more in one night (six goals) than they had in the first three games combined (five goals). D Brent Seabrook was the hero with the overtime goal at 9:51 of the extra period. Chicago outshot the Bruins by a hefty 47-33 margin in Game 4 and won 49% of the faceoffs, a huge improvement from its 29% faceoffs won in Game 3. The Blackhawks also scored their first power-play goal of the series (1-of-15) on Wednesday, but Boston capitalized on two of its five chances with the man advantage. Now the series goes back to United Center where Chicago is 10-2 during the postseason. However, the Bruins are 6-3 on the road during these playoffs, including a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2. But there are plenty of trends favoring the Blackhawks to win again, as they are 19-2 coming off a road win this season, including a perfect 9-0 mark when that road win was by a one-goal margin. On the flip side, Boston is just 1-6 off a home loss by a one-goal margin this season. The pick here is <b>CHICAGO</b> to win on its home ice.<P>
Even with allowing six goals on 47 shots (.872 Sv Pct.) on Wednesday, Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask (14-6, 1.83 GAA, .941 Sv Pct. in playoffs) has had a great series so far, saving 161-of-172 shots (.936 Sv Pct., 2.09 GAA). And in his past four road games, Rask has turned aside 147-of-153 shots (.961 Sv Pct.). There were many offensive heroes for Boston in Game 4, especially C Patrice Bergeron, who netted two goals to give him a series-best four tallies on a team-high 19 shots on goal. Three of those goals have been on the power play, where his team is an excellent 4-for-14 (29%) in the series. LW Milan Lucic also has four points in the series (3 G, 1 A), but three occurred in Game 1, as his goal on Wednesday snapped a two-game point-less skid. But he also delivered a game-high eight hits in the Game 4 defeat. LW Daniel Paille (2 G, 1 A) is the only other multiple-goal scorer for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals, but he was held without a point and without a shot in Game 4. Four different players each have three assists and zero goals in the series — C David Krejci, C Tyler Seguin, D Zdeno Chara and RW Jaromir Jagr. Krejci still leads all NHL players with 24 points (9 G, 15 A) during the postseason, and Chara and Jagr had two helpers each in Game 4. But Jagr, who has 78 career playoff goals, has yet to score a single goal in any of the 20 games during these playoffs. Boston has four players that have logged at least 27 minutes per game during the NHL Finals, including two that are over 30 minutes — D Dennis Seidenberg (33:46 avg. ice time) and Chara (32:31). Seidenberg has blocked eight shots in his past two games, and also delivered seven hits in Wednesday’s loss.<P>
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (14-7, 1.86 GAA, .931 Sv Pct. in playoffs) saved just 28-of-33 shots (.848 Sv Pct.) in the Game 4 win, but his numbers are still decent for his first Stanley Cup Finals series where he’s posted a .920 Sv Pct. and 2.29 GAA. Crawford has been outstanding at home during this postseason though, going 10-2 with a .938 Sv Pct. and 1.58 GAA. Thirteen different Chicago players scored at least one point during Game 4, but only three had multiple points — RW Patrick Kane (1 G, 1 A), LW Brian Bickell (2 A) and D Michal Rozsival (2 A). C Patrick Sharp is the only Blackhawks skater with more than one goal in the series, tallying two goals on his series-most 25 shots on goal. Sharp leads all scorers in the postseason with 10 goals, and it was his power-play tally in the third period on Wednesday that snapped the Bruins streak of killing off 30 straight penalties. In terms of the Stanley Cup Finals, only three Chicago players have at least three points — Kane (1 G, 2 A), Rozsival (0 G, 3 A) and C Dave Bolland (1 G, 2 A). The Blackhawks really need more out of C Jonathan Toews (1 G, 0 A in series) and LW Marian Hossa (0 G, 2 A in series), considering Toews has 10 points (2 G, 8 A) in the playoffs, while Hossa has 16 points (7 G, 9 A) in this postseason. Like Boston, Chicago also has four players that have logged more than 27 minutes per game of ice time during the Stanley Cup Finals. D Duncan Keith has been the biggest workhorse with a hefty 34:57 of ice time per game, in which he’s been able to post a +4 rating. Three other defensemen — Niklas Hjalmarsson (28:35 avg. ice time), Brent Seabrook (28:04) and Johnny Oduya (27:03) — have also played a ton of minutes, but only Seabrook (+1 rating) has a positive rating in the series.