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Hawks Look To Fend Off Elimination

Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks are on the brink of elimination. Can they stay alive when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 on Wednesday?

Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks are on the brink of elimination. Can they stay alive when they host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 on Wednesday?

A Stanley Cup favorite for so much of the season, the Chicago Blackhawks will look to stave off elimination and keep its title chances alive Wednesday as the team hosts the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

Opening face-off at the United Center in Chicago is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET.

After winning Game 1 of the best-of-seven series, Chicago has been rocked by a Los Angeles side that looks intent on advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals for a second time in three years.

Los Angeles jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period of Monday’s Game 4, benefiting from power play goals from Jake Muzzin and Dustin Brown as well as Marian Gaborik’s even-strength effort. The deficit left the Blackhawks ripe for the picking.

The Kings made it 4-0 midway through the second as Drew Doughty beat Corey Crawford in the Chicago net.

The Blackhawks’ hopes of a comeback were buoyed 80 seconds later as Brandon Saad’s goal prevented a shutout. Bryan Bickell added a second midway through the third, but that would be as close as the Blackhawks would come. Tanner Pearson’s empty net goal with just over a minute left on the clock made the final score 5-2.

Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick stopped 22-of-24 shots while his counterpart, Crawford, allowed four goals on just 20 shots.

Special teams have been a huge stumbling block for the Blackhawks, who cannot lay all the blame at the feet of Crawford. The side has killed just five of their opponents’ last 10 power plays, dating back to Game 2, a figure that would usher in damnation for any team at this point of the series. Joel Quenneville’s side will need to improve – both when shorthanded and with a man advantage – of it’s to find any kind of saving grace.

The Kings now lead the series 3-1 and will look to wrap things up as quickly as possible.

The Blackhawks meanwhile will switch to survival mode and take things game-by-game. The Hawks need three consecutive wins if they’re to earn a second straight Stanley Cup Finals appearance – and a third appearance in five years – and have any chance of successfully defending the championship they won a year ago.

Don’t expect the Kings to take it easy in Game 5, despite needing just one win from the next three games.

Darryl Sutter’s side knows only too well what it’s like to be down and desperate. The Kings trailed the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in the first round, going on to complete a remarkable comeback. They also dropped three straight games to the Anaheim Ducks after leading the second round series 2-0.

So the Kings know intimately what it’s like to have their backs against the wall, which is why they’ll look to find some killer instinct when the two sides take to the ice on Wednesday night.

One win from advancing, the Kings have moved to the top of the NHL Futures list. According to online sportsbook Bovada, the Kings are 10/11 to win the Stanley Cup, while the Blackhawks are 8/1. The way this year’s playoff tournament has gone, it might be worth putting a few dollars down on Chicago, who will be looking to pull off a Los Angeles-style upset this series.

Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks odds for 05/28/2014

Chicago (-136) opened as the favorite over Los Angeles (+124) on the moneyline.

After three straight wins, the Kings will be confident they can wrap up the series in the Windy City. The Blackhawks had won four straight against the Kings before this current losing streak, and will come out fighting on Wednesday.

The total sits at 5.

Defense often tightens up as the playoffs progress, lending to the total more commonly going under. This trend has been washed away in recent games though.

The Blackhawks and Kings have combined for a total of 22 goals over the last three games, all of which have seen the over pay out.

The total has gone over in six of the last nine head-to-head meetings between the sides, stretching back to last year’s conference finals.


For a full list of the latest NHL playoff odds, click here.

When available, updated NHL futures odds can be found here.

For a selection of NHL team prop bets, click here.

For a selection of NHL player prop bets, click here.

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