This year’s NHL Stanley Cup Finals matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks is shaping up as one of the best showdowns in recent years with the best-of-seven series tied at two games apiece heading into Saturday’s Game 5 at the United Center in Chicago.
NHL Finals Overview
We have seen it all so far with three of the four games decided in overtime. Game 1 went to Chicago 4-3 in the third overtime period as a 128 home favorite. Boston quickly bounced back from that heart-breaking loss to even the series with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 2 as a 140 road underdog.
Goal tending was once again at a premium in Game 3. This was especially true with the Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, who stopped all 28 shots he faced to help lead Boston to a 2-0 victory as a 150 home favorite and a 2-1 series lead. Just when it appeared that the Bruins were poised to take control of this series, Chicago showed why it had the best overall record in the NHL this season with a wild 6-5 overtime victory this past Wednesday night as a 126-road underdog to even the score at 2-2.
The Bruins have a slight 12-11 edge in total goals scored, however the Blackhawks have outshot Boston 172-150 through the first four games.
The big guns for Boston this postseason have been David Krejci (9 goals and 15 assists), Patrice Bergeron (9 goals and 6 assists) and Nathan Horton (7 goals and 12 assists). Rask comes into Game 5 with a goals-against-average of 1.83 and a .941 save percentage in 20 previous playoff games.
Most of Chicago’s production in the playoffs has come from Patrick Sharp (10 goals and 6 assists), Patrick Kane (7 goals and 10 assists) and Marian Hossa (7 goals and 9 assists). Carl Crawford has gone the distance in goal and has posted a 1.86 GAA and a save percentage of .931 in 21 postseason contests.
NHL Finals Game 5 Betting Strategy
Chicago has been opened as a 145 home favorite for Saturday’s Game 5 on BetOnline’s money line with the Bruins listed as 132 road underdogs. The total has once again been set at 5.
The one thing we have learned with three of the first four games in this series ending in overtime is that these two teams are evenly matched. A play on the Blackhawks at home is probably the safest bet but if you are willing to take the risk, the best play in this matchup would be Boston +1.5 on the puck line at -260 given the strong probability that this game also ends with a one-goal margin of victory either way.
If you are looking to wager on the total line, I would lean towards the UNDER as both team’s goalies are due to return to form with a much better effort in Game 5 after this past Wednesday night’s 11-goal barrage.