June 14, 2013 at 4:23 PM #52345
Qbin Missile CrisisKeymaster
Stanley Cup Final – Bruins Look to Even Series Saturday Night
It took nearly over 110 minutes (nearly the length of two games) but the Chicago Blackhawks did what the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to do in four games in the last round – beat the Boston Bruins and score four goals along the way. Thursday was a deserved off day for the Stanley Cup Finalists but the teams were back on the ice Friday in preparation for a very important Game 2 Friday night. For Chicago Game 1 was all about a “never give up” attitude as the team came back from 3-1 down to record the win. For the Bruins Game 1 was “the one they let slip away”. If we learned one thing during the marathon Game 1 it is that there is not a whole lot separating these teams and that every game in the series has the potential to be a classic.
Boston Bruins (40-17-5-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (49-11-1-5)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, June 15, 2013
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Broadcast: CBC, RDS, NBCSN
Blackhawks lead series 1-0
Bruins vs. Hawks Betting Lines from betonline.com
Boston Bruins +1½ -245 +137 Ov 5 +130
Chicago Blackhawks -1½ +205 -151 Un 5 -143
The Boston Bruins headed into Game 1 having gone 5-2 on the road in the playoffs and that trend looked as though it would continue after a very good start staked them to a 3-1 lead with just 12 minutes left in the third. Some uncharacteristic turnovers and a bit of bad puck luck (the tying goal went off a Boston defenseman’s skate and the OT winner went off a shin pad) sunk the Bruins in a game that they felt they controlled.
Boston seemed to have the game plan to neutralize the Hawks – it worked for the better part of 2 1/2 periods in the game. Disciplined forecheck, immense back checks and an ability to clog the neutral zone really hurt the Hawks’ ability to get their speed game going – something they absolutely rely on. The game plan somehow unraveled as Game 1 wore on – something that cannot happen in Game 1. If the Bruins can execute like they did in the first 2/3 of Game 1, they should keep this game close again – at very least.
The top line proved to be an absolute handful once again on Wednesday night – the Bruins had no answer for Milan Lucic who scored twice and added an assist, playoff scoring leader David Krejci and Nathan Horton (who is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury). Tyler Seguin would replace Horton if unable to go and judging by Game 1 he is a step or two down from Horton. The top line is the good news – the lack of a secondary threat is the bad news for the Bs. Boston will definitely need someone else to step up offensively – the Blackhawks were buoyed by their depth guys – Boston will need some contributions from theirs.
Goaltending for Boston simply won’t be an issue. Although Tuukka Rask gave up twice as many goals in Game 1 as he did all of the previous series against Pittsburgh he was still sensational and gives the Bruins a chance to win every night.
The Chicago Blackhawks looked as though they didn’t know what was coming in Game 1 – they may have underestimated the speed and the fury that is the Boston Bruins. They escaped with a win but it certainly didn’t come easy. Coach Joel Quenville will have some work to do during the break to figure out a way to break down Boston’s trap game and to find a way to utilize Chicago’s speed against the stellar defense of the Boston Bruins.
Chicago’s top guys were once again quiet although there were flashes from Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Credit Boston’s defense and the Bruins adherence to the game plan for slowing the big guns down. Instead of the studs doing the damage it was Brandon Saad, Dave Bolland, Johnny Oduya and Andrew Shaw who scored for Chicago – a sign that their depth and talent up and down the lineup may be a difference in the series. The ability to roll four lines confidently is a big advantage for Joel Quenville – one that many didn’t see coming!
If there were any concerns about Corey Crawford ahead of Game 1 those concerns were laid to rest especially after the overtime in which Crawford was brilliant – saving the game on numerous occasions for Chicago. For Chicago, goaltending won’t be an issue.
Betting Prediction: A few trends to consider:
• Under is 12-3-1 in BOS last 16 Sat. games.
• BOS are 2-7 in their last 9 Sat. games.
• BOS are 6-2 in their last 8 vs. Central.
• CHI are 8-1 in their last 9 vs. Eastern Conference.
• CHI are 12-3 in their last 15 Sat. games.
• CHI are 49-17 in their last 66 overall.
• Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings in Chicago.
After a long and grueling game the advantage has to go to the team that actually had something to celebrate. The Blackhawks have been tremendous all season as they were 2nd in the league in goals, 1st in goals allowed, and 3rd on the power play. It took a while but they were able to solve the puzzle that was Boston’s game plan. The only team to give the Bruins problems in the playoffs so far is the Toronto Maple Leafs and their speed game. Chicago is like the Leafs on steroids! I like Boston but I love Chicago to come up with a Game 2 victory as they take advantage of Boston’s tired top 4 defensemen (who all played about 60 minutes on Wednesday night). The speed game prevails and the Bruins find themselves in a bit of trouble heading home!
Pick: Chicago Blackhawks -151
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