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The NHL’s Western Conference Final will be a best-of-seven affair between the top seeded Anaheim Ducks (109 points) and the fourth seeded Chicago Blackhawks (102 points) with the Ducks having home-ice advantage. The Ducks advanced to Conference Final for the first time in eight years after beating the Calgary Flames in five games during the second round. They knocked off the Winnipeg Jets in a four-game sweep in the opening round. The last time Anaheim went this far in the playoffs they went all the way and captured the Stanley Cup back in the 2006/07 campaign. This will be the first time the Ducks and Hawks have met in a postseason matchup.
Anaheim Ducks vs Chicago Blackhawks NHL Playoff Betting Preview – bet365 currently lists both the Blackhawks and Ducks at 10/11 to win the series. The Ducks are 4-1 to win it in seven games with the Hawks at 5/1 to take it in seven
Chicago ousted the Minnesota Wild in four straight games in the second round following a six-game victory over the Nashville Predators in the first round. Both teams have plenty of scoring power with the Ducks’ Corey Perry leading the NHL playoff scoring race with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in just nine games. Fellow forward Ryan Getzlaf isn’t far behind him as he’s chipped in with a pair of goals and 10 assists for a dozen points. In addition, forward Matt Beleskey scored a goal in all five contests against the Flames and nine Anaheim players have at least two goals so far in the playoffs.
At the other end of the rink, goaltender Frederik Andersen leads the league with eight playoff wins and has posted a 92.5 save percentage to go along with his goals-against average of 1.96. Anaheim has gone 5-0 at home at the Honda Center in the postseason this year. They’re the only team to have suffered just one loss so far and they’ve managed to outscore the opposition 17-4 during third periods and overtime.
The Blackhawks will be playing in their fifth Western Conference Final in the past seven years. They took the Stanley Cup back to the Windy City with them in both the 2009/10 and 2012/13 seasons. They were knocked out of the Conference Final by the Los Angeles Kings in overtime of the seventh and deciding game last spring. Forward Patrick Kane led the Blackhawks with four goals against the Ducks in their regular-season meetings this year while Patrick Sharp chipped in with four assists. Kane is the Hawks’ hottest player at the moment with seven goals and six assists in 10 postseason games and has a seven-game point-scoring streak on the line.
The teams met three times with Chicago winning two of the encounters and allowing just one goal against in all three games. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford went 2-0 against the Ducks this year and posted a goals-against average of 1.00 as well as a save percentage of 95.7. For the Ducks, forward Rickard Rakell and defenseman Hampus Lindholm each had a goal against Chicago while Patrick Maroon earned a pair of assists. However, Andersen didn’t fare too well in net as he went 0-2 with a 3.52 Goals-against average. The Blackhawks will have to play this series without the services of defenseman Michal Rozsival as he suffered a fractured ankle in the series against Minnesota