Stanley Cup Finals Game #1- Boston Bruins vs Chicago Blackhawks
TV- NBC, CBC, RDS
Game Time- 7:00pm
Preview- This is one of the few times heading to the Stanley Cup Finals where both teams are red hot coming into the Finals. As you probably have read or heard this is the first time these two franchises have ever met in the Stanley Cup Finals and they haven’t played since 2011 so there are a lot of unknowns with the two teams that are both 7-1 in their last 8 games. When the puck drops nobody will care if both teams are Original 6, only thing people will be thinking about is who will be raising the Cup after 4 wins.
The Bruins were pushed to the brink in Game 7 by the Toronto Maple Leafs but somehow they found the will from withing to overcome a 4-1 deficit to advance to the Conference Semi-Finals and they have only lost one time since that game. The Bruins are built very much like the Blackhawks with puck possession and defense leading the way in front of some very talented offensive players.
The Bruins confidence level has to be at an all-time high after only allowing 2 goals in a four game series against the most lethal offensive team in the playoffs when they swept the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tuuka Rask has played great when the Bruins defense does let a shot through. The Bruins, like the Kings and Red Wings before them will be trying to keep this series a low scoring defensive affair. The Bruins defense is big (Chara) and very deep just like the Blackhawks.
The Bruins offense will be looking for a quick start to tone down the United Center crowd, but the style they want to play doesn’t dictate a fast start. The Bruins after scoring goals by the buckets in Games 1 & 2 in Pittsburgh only managed three goals in Boston so look for them to try to enforce their will on the Blackhawks while getting garbage goals as they crash the net.
The Blackhawks are riding high as they finished off another series with a OT winner at the United Center. The story of the season has to be that all the Hawks players have been valuable from the stars to all the role players. Every series everyone wants the stars to take over but it’s been players like Bryan Bickell that have been the story.
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane seemed to have turned the corner offensively and now in the Final series of the year the big guns will be needed to beat the Bruins. The stars will be there but which role player will show up? My pick is Brandon Saad who was one of the best players on the ice against the Los Angeles Kings without getting any pucks in the net. If the short history of Saad is any proof, he is about to explode on the Stanley Cup Finals.
The real test for the Hawks will be keeping Corey Crawford and the front of the net clean. The Bruins are net crashers and the Hawks defense will need to clean up any rebounds that Crawford gives up. Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson will need to be the real stars of this series and that starts tonight in Game #1.
Game #1 is right around the corner! Expect a low scoring affair but don’t be shocked if it becomes a shoot out!
What is your prediction for Game #1?
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