Well, it all comes down to this…possibly. The Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup if they can defeat the Boston Bruins tonight, in Boston. That last sentence should be more than enough to illustrate how this series is far from over, and the Cup is far from in the hands of the Hawks, just yet.
The Bruins appear to be in luck(well, sort of) now that tonight’s game is in Boston, where more times than not, the home-ice favors the Bruins. Also, it appears that Patrice Bergeron will be back in the lineup, tonight. In Game 5, after Bergeron left the game, due to an apparent spleen injury. the Bruins lost nearly all of their offensive pressure on the Hawks, as well as most of the faceoffs. So, it is critical to the Bruins success, that their forward depth remains completely intact. Tuuka Rask has more ability than anyone on the planet to steal a win for a team(which he could easily do tonight) but it would certainly help if some of the pressure was taken off of him, as Zdeno Chara has been beaten badly, the last two games to where he has earned himself an uncharacteristic -5 rating. Perhaps, Chara’s recent struggles are a result of extreme minutes taking a toll on the veteran, so late in the calender year. With their backs against the wall, and returning to Boston, we might see a different Bruins team than we have seen, in the past two games. Also, it’s hard to imagine an entire playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals, with Jaromir Jagr, where he doesn’t score a goal.
Momentum is definitely on the Blackhawks side, as they shocked the Bruins with a Game 4 victory in Boston, to even the series. The Hawks, then stormed to a series lead, and are now one win away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup, for the second time in four years. While the wind is certainly in the Hawks’ sails, that wind can also end up pushing them into rocky waters. The funny thing with momentum is that it is a double-edged sword. It can make a team play with confidence that helps them soar to great heights. It can also put a team on cruise control en route to some sloppy hockey. Much like the Bruins’ situation with Bergeron, the Hawks have a questionable superstar in the form of captain, Jonathan Toews. Just like Bergeron, it is looking like Toews will be playing tonight, for the Blackhawks. A Hawks team without Toews would be about as vulnerable of a Hawks team as there can be, so it will be interesting to see how aggressively the desperate Bruins key on him. Patrick Kane has absolutely been on fire, and when he comes alive, along with the Hawks’ elite goal scorers, this team is nearly unstoppable. It’s the elite scoring and the fun that it appears the Blackhawks appear to be having on the ice, that is the momentum that will have the hoisting the Stanley Cup tonight. It is the momentum that will lead them to sloppy, overconfident, lackadaisical hockey that will force a Game 7.
It really doesn’t get much better than this for Blackhawks’ fans, and it doesn’t get much more tense for Bruins fans, so if you’re a fan of either team, do yourself a favor and tune in for some epic hockey, tonight!