Daytime hockey doesn’t happen often, and if you’re a late sleeper, on Sundays, you might want to set your alarm clock, for this game. The Chicago Blackhawks will face the Boston Bruins, for the first time since the epic Stanley Cup Finals series, this past summer.[table “45” not found /]
Statistically, the edge has to go to the Bruins, in this one. The Bruins might be the most solid, all-around team, statistically speaking, in the entire NHL. They are elite, or at least above average, in every category. While the Blackhawks are a better team, in some of the rankings, they do also have a few categories, where they are average, or towards the bottom, of the NHL. If the Hawks can turn this game into an offensive track meet, the Bruins may not have enough fire-power to keep up. Regardless, the Hawks have their work cut out for them, in today’s game.
The Bruins currently hold a one point lead, over the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning, however, have played in 2 more games, than the Bruins, so their lead, in the division is a little more solid, than it actually appears. Lately, Boston has played mediocre hockey, with a 5-5-0 record, in their last 10 games.
Boston is lead by a flurry of very solid players. Zdeno Chara is still one of the better defenseman, in the league, and his enormous size makes him difficult to play against. David Krejci is having a great season, as he leads the Bruins, in scoring. Reilly Smith has been a difference maker, in his first year as a Bruin. Milan Lucic can score and also always make his presence on the ice felt. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are just 2 more of the nearly endless list of great players, on the Bruins’ roster.
In net, for the Bruins, will be Vezina Trophy contender, Tuuka Rask. Rask has had a fantastic season, as he has a .928 save percentage, in the 37 games he has played in.
The Blackhawks are coming off of a big victory, over the league leading, Anaheim Ducks, and currently sit in 1st place, in the Central Division, with a 3 point lead(even though they have played in 3 more games), over the St. Louis Blues.
Chicago is currently hoping to put their recent skid even further into their rear view mirror, and a win, over the Bruins would very much do that. The Hawks will need contributions from their big stars, like Patrick Kane, who is having a career year, but has struggled with consistency, lately. Patrick Sharp is also having a career year, and has been finding the net, often. Jonathan Toews continues to do everything, on the ice, and he does it at an elite level. Marian Hossa has been consistently finding his name in the box score, lately, so look for him to continue his hot streak. Ducnan Keith continues to have his best season, yet, as he continues his push for a 2nd Norris Trophy.
In net will be Corey Crawford, who has played very well, since returning from injury. On the season, Crawford has a solid .910 save percentage, in his 33 games played.
A previous season’s Stanley Cup Finals rematch, in the following regular season, is always interesting. The Hawks are looking to build off of a great performance, against Anaheim, with another win over another elite team, in the Bruins. It should be a great game!