The Hawks took the first game of the Stanley Cup Final in epic fashion. Besides the obvious benefit of being up 1-0 in the series, it also carries with it some statistical significance. Historically, the home teams that won game one of the final have went on to win the cup an astounding 76.7% of the time. When I read that stat I sat here thinking a bit, and I realized something. The Bruins have beaten the odds before. I mean, it’s the Cup Final; anything can happen. Here are some positives and negatives that the Bruins face going into game two.
+ Experience: They went down 2-0 against Vancouver when they won the cup. The Nucks won the first two games at home, but went on to lose the series in convincing fashion. This, unsurprisingly, left them in the 23.3% loser category. The Bruins rallied after an illegal high hit to Nathan Horton that left the beloved Bruin lying on the ice in bad shape. I doubt the Hawks will give them anything like that to rally around, but the Bruins know they can come back from being down. The Cup winning team’s roster is mostly the same, unlike the Hawks, so home ice might be still magic for them even if they go down 2-0.
- Injuries: Gregory Campbell broke his fibula blocking a Malkin slap shot. He was a key player for pretty much any situation. They also lost Horton to a shoulder dislocation, though he was back in practice yesterday. Injuries are going to have their effect on their depth, and we saw it in game one. Even if Horton comes back for games two or three, he won’t be 100%.
+ Goals: Not many will argue that the Hawks had lucky bounces or that the three goals scored by Boston were quality goals. Boston knows that they won’t be that unlucky through seven games. They also know that they have the ability to completely shut down an opposing team’s offense (see Pens) .
- Temper: Rask had some words for the press regarding Krug. This most likely won’t have any consequences in the locker room, but you never know. Rask has a temper, and if the Hawks continue to force the Bruins into mistakes… well, you never know how Rask might react.
- OTx3: The Bruins had a bit of a tough time all year with their third periods. In the Playoffs, the Bruins won only 75% of their games when leading after 2 periods (Hawks are a perfect 100%). Boston also was no better during the regular season, winning only 65.2% of their games when leading after 2 periods. When you add another third period collapse on top of the heart breaking loss in triple OT, you got a recipe for doubt.
This series is far from over, and after watching game one play out the way it did, I doubt anyone would think differently. The Bruins are basically the same team from their cup year, and the Hawks have finally found the missing pieces to the puzzle to support the core that won the cup. One classic NHL game down, possibly six more classics to go.