NHL Betting: Chicago to go to town on Detroit

As city rivalries go, they don't get much more historic in US sports than Detroit versus Chicago. 

The Blackhawks and Red Wings are ready to write the latest chapter through their second round match-up. The Blackhawks swept the regular season series 4-0 and although three of those successes were in overtime, they are heavy favourites at 1.30 to progress. 

However, Detroit have already toppled the West's 2nd seeded club Anaheim, so shouldn't fear taking on the top ranked side in the conference.

Chicago looked ominous in their casting aside of Minnesota. Goalie Corey Crawford allowed just seven goals over the five games. On defence the fairly even split of ice time between their three pairs shows strength in depth. Their penalty kill also has a perfect 100% record. 

Up front Patrick Sharp was worth a goal a game and his link up with Patrick Kane is blossoming, however they are still searching for more from Jonathan Toews' top line. Coach Joel Quenneville even said that his side didn't play to their best throughout and I agree with him, certainly on the basis of their dominance during the regular season.

Although they struggled to contain Anaheim at times, in the truly pressure games the Red Wings were extremely resilient. 

Just as when they were battling for a spot in the post-season, goaltender Jimmy Howard seemed to thrive in the clutch. That's a quality they will need to see more of. 

With little offensive threat coming from their checking lines the devastating forward partnership of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk may have to continue shoulder most of the burden. The opener should be a cagey affair though, so back under 5.5 total goals at 1.52.

Carrying that energy forward from their Game 7 win and starting well is vital for Detroit, as I think the Blackhawks will take the series relatively comfortably if they get out in front. On paper it's hard to see where the Red Wings will find an advantage and those losses earlier in the season back that up. Take a victory for Chicago in regulation at 1.88.

Best Bet: Chicago Blackhawks to win at 1.88

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