Jan 19, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) shoots the puck against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook (7) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
This is what happened the last time the Chicago Blackhawks faced the Boston Bruins, at the TD Garden, in Boston. Emotions will be high, as the Blackhawks will be back at the scene, where the summer-long celebration began, as they clinched the Stanley Cup, on June 24th, 2013. The Bruins likely remember too, except for them, the memories aren’t so positive, and they will surely like to make the Hawks forget all positives, the Boston ice.
Let’s take a look at how both teams matchup.
[table id=24 /]
This a very evenly matched matchup, between two of the NHL’s elite teams. It’s hard to really pick a favorite, in this one. Offensively, the Hawks are slightly better, and defensively the Bruins are a little better. When it comes to the Power Play, the Hawks are ever-so-slightly better, while the Bruins are better on the Penalty Kill. Puck Possession is where the Hawks are the superior team, but not by much, as they lead the Bruins in Faceoff Percentage and Corsi For Percentage, but not by much.
The Bruins are very close to clinching the top playoff seed, in the Eastern Conference, as well as the President’s Trophy.
David Krejci currently leads the Bruins, in points, this season, and he has put up an outstanding 44 assists, this season. Jarome Iginla is certainly loving being back, playing meaningful hockey, late in the season, and has put up 28 goals, this season. Milan Lucic is having one of his best seasons, and will be a thorn, in the Blackhawks’ side, all night. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are not having their best offensive seasons, but that is largely because the scoring has been more spread out, on the roster, and they continue to play their chippy defensive games, as well.
In net, for the Bruins, will be Tukka Rask. Rask has been absolutely phenomenal, this season, as he has an incredible .930 Save Percentage, in 52 games played, this season.
The Blackhawks can put more distance, between them and the 3rd place Colorado Avalanche, and they can also keep the miracle of reclaiming the Central Division, from the St. Louis Blues, with a big win, in Boston, tonight.
Teuvo Teravainen will be back in the lineup, tonight. Teravainen had a great debut, against the Dallas Stars, but the Bruins are like no team he’s ever faced before. Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane will be out, tonight, and will be sorely missed. Kris Versteeg will be looking to continue his recent hot-streak, that coincided with being promoted to the top-line, with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
Corey Crawford will get the start, in net, tonight, for the Hawks. Crawford continues his very good season, and has been playing better than ever, lately. This season, Crawford has put up a .919 Save Percentage, in 53 games played.
Hopefully the Hawks don’t get lost in the sentimental emotions that will surely be alive, as they revisit the TD Garden, for the first time since clinching the Cup. The Bruins surely won’t be as sentimental, and if anything those emotions will have them coming out fast and brutal, and the Hawks will have to be ready for it. Boston can make any team look bad, on any night. It should be a great game!