On the surface, it looks like the winner could be who wins in the battle of the Bruin defense vs. the Blackhawk offense.
In addition to Marian Hossa (14 points), Patrick Sharp (14 points) and Duncan Keith (11 points) on the blueline, in beating the Kings to advance to the Final, Chicago’s main firepower of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are heating up at the right time.
The Blackhawks will need all of that and more as Boston’s D has shut down everything in their path to the Final. Led by Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, the Bruins showed their dominance by silencing Sydney Crosby in sweeping the Penguins in four straight.
There’s also the age-old “riding the hot goalie” theory in play here (like the LA Kings riding netminder Jonathan Quick to a title last year) as, at least statistically, the two best goaltenders in the postseason, Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Chicago’s Corey Crawford have shined in the post-season. Rask is 12-4-1 with a 1.75 GAA and a .943 save percentage (the best in the NHL playoffs). Crawford is 12-5-1 with a 1.74 GAA (the best in the NHL playoffs) and a .935 save percentage.
In the end, simply put, these are two hard-hitting squads that could make this a true black-and-blue finale with the winner perhaps coming from the team that can wear down the other from a sheer physicality point of view.
PREDICTION: Boston’s scoring from leader David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand combined with a smothering defense is awesome, but the depth of the Blackhawks will prevail. Chicago wins in 7.
|WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013||8P.M.**||BOSTON AT CHICAGO||NBC|
|SATURDAY, JUNE 15, 2013||8 P.M.||BOSTON AT CHICAGO||NBCSN|
|MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013||8 P.M.||CHICAGO AT BOSTON||NBCSN|
|WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013||8 P.M.||CHICAGO AT BOSTON||NBC|
|*SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013||8 P.M.||BOSTON AT CHICAGO||NBC|
|*MONDAY, JUNE 24, 2013||8 P.M.||CHICAGO AT BOSTON||NBC|
|*WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2013||8 P.M.||BOSTON AT CHICAGO||NBC|
* If necessary
** All Times eastern.