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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins Free Game 6 Pick | NHL Preview

Blackhawks vs. Bruins Handicapping

The Stanley Cup Final moves back to Boston on Monday night with the Bruins facing elimination after the Chicago Blackhawks dictated the pace and walked away with Game 5 on Saturday night. While attention should be directed to the players suiting up in the elimination game, most of the ink has been absorbed by the players who may be forced to sit out Game 6 because of injury.

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Chicago Blackhawks (51-12-2-5) at Boston Bruins (42-18-6-3)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, June 24, 2013
Where: TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Broadcast: CBC, NBC, RDS
Blackhawks lead series 3-2
Hawks vs. Bruins Betting Lines from betonline.com
Chicago Blackhawks +1½ -280 +114 Ov 4½ -136
Boston Bruins -1½ +235 -126 Un 4½ +124

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Bruins Look to Stay Alive Monday Night

Jonathan Toews is questionable for Chicago after taking a hellacious hit Saturday and Patrice Bergeron’s status is unknown after sustaining a phantom injury in Game 5. Like every game in the series so far, Game 6 should be highly competitive and highly emotional – I can’t wait!

The Boston Bruins find themselves in a strangely familiar spot heading into Game 6 of the Final. They were in this very position – down 3-2 in a series before they stormed back in Round 1 against Toronto. With their backs against the wall, Boston went on an historic run that has taken them all the way to this point. The only issue heading into Monday night`s showdown – they may be forced to play without one of their most effective and underrated weapons – Patrice Bergeron. He is listed as day-to-day but after a visit to the hospital Saturday night, his status is seriously up in the air. (Julien today said he’ll play however)

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How crucial is the Patrice Bergeron injury to the Boston Bruins? He is fourth on the Bruins in scoring during the playoffs (nine goals, 15 points). He is 61.9% on face-offs, a plus-two, second among Boston forwards in minutes played per game (20:52). Another issue for Boston is the play of Zdeno Chara in the last couple of games. Chara has a combined minus-5 rating in the past two games and he has been on the ice for all eight of Chicago’s goals in those contests. He had been a difference maker for Boston in the playoffs but he is obviously wearing down after playing some tough minutes and after becoming the target for his opposition in the playoffs.

Tuukka Rask looks mortal and Boston looks to be in trouble don`t they? But one thing that we have come to expect in during the playoffs – expect the unexpected. Just when you think you have a beat on the series the opposite plays out.

The Chicago Blackhawks are riding the only two game win streak of the Stanley Cup Final so far this year. They seem to have a formula for success against Boston – pressure the hell out of Zdeno Chara and use their speed game to control the time of possession – keep the puck away from the Bruins and good things will happen. [ad-4437448]

But the Hawks, like the Bruins have a huge injury question mark ahead of Game 6 – Captain Jonathan Toews was injured in the second period of Game 5 and sat out the entire third period Saturday. Word has it that he looks fine and that he hopes to play Monday. The Hawks’ captain is sixth on the team in scoring (two goals, 12 points, plus-eight, leads all Chicago forwards with 21:36 of ice time per game and is 52.8% on face-offs. He also had two assists in game 5. Being reunited with Patrick Kane on the top line has been that spark that has thrust this team to the verge of their second Cup in three years.

Just like the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings Patrick Kane has responded strongly to criticism following a loss in Game 3 of a playoff series. He has scored three goals in the past two contests and now has nine in the playoffs for the Blackhawks. He has been the best player on the ice for Chicago – it`s about time!

Betting Prediction

A few trends to consider:

• Under is 11-2-2 in CHI last 15 road games.
• CHI are 7-2 in their last 9 vs. Northeast.
• CHI are 51-19 in their last 70 overall.
• BOS are 7-1 in their last 8 home games.
• BOS are 11-4 in their last 15 overall.
• BOS are 35-16 in their last 51 Mon. games.

This has been a tough series to call and although it looks like the Bruins are done it would not shock me to see them come up with an epic win Monday night. But Patrice Bergeron looks way less likely to play that Jonathan Toews and without his faceoff prowess, his penalty killing and without solidified line combinations there appears to be too much staked against the Eastern Conference champs. The Hawks smell blood and will put a stamp on an amazing 2013 with a win on the road Monday night!

Pick: Chicago Blackhawks +114


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