NHL Totals Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings

NHL Totals Preview:  Chicago Blackhawks at Los Angeles Kings

The NHL Western Conference finals shifts from Chicago to Los Angeles tonight with the Blackhawks holding a 2-0 series lead. We’ll focus on the totals play in this writeup as bookmakers are dealing a very low total of 4.5 in this Game 3. Obviously it’s a very important game for the Kings–they’ve been awful on the road all season long and especially during the stretch run of the regular season and start of the postseason. That means if they’ve got any hope of advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals they need to defend their home ice. They also need to steal a win at Chicago since the Blackhawks have home ice advantage but to even get in that situation they need to win all of their games at the Staples Center.

We’re not convinced they’ll be able to do that. The Kings want to play the Blackhawks the same way that the Bruins have opened their series against the Penguins over in the Eastern Conference. Boston’s defense has shut down the Pittsburgh offense and the Bruins’ scoring attack has been good enough to take advantage. Unfortunately for Los Angeles we don’t see them being able to impose their will defensively the way the Bruins have done. The Blackhawks just have too many offensive weapons and the Kings too few. Furthermore, the Kings haven’t been an exceptional defensive team this season. They get great goaltending from Jonathan Quick but they often make him work harder than he really should. The Bruins are just the opposite–their defense makes their goaltending look better.

The Kings have also been the beneficiary of favorable matchups so far during this Stanley Cup playoff run–simply put, they’ve not faced teams that were exceptionally good on the road nor have they had to deal with an opponent that can overwhelm them on offense. The Blackhawks can do both and that’s why we see them making short work of the Kings tonight and throughout this series. We also see them obliterating the low total for this contest. Five of the last six head to head have gone Over the total and we expect this one to exceed the number as well.