Blackhawks Reach for Lord Stanley
Could the Stanley Cup be presented in Boston on Monday night?
Chicago hopes so.
The Chicago Blackhawks enter Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in Boston with a 3 – 2 series lead, and a win tonight could see them hoisting their second Cup in 4 years. Of course, not if the Boston Bruins have anything to say about it.
It’s been a tough series: each team has won and lost at home and each team has won two games in a row. It’s difficult to imagine one of these teams dropping 3 straight games with the level of skill on both benches so Game 6 could be a momentum swing for the Bruins.
If Chicago wants to take home the ultimate prize, they will have to focus on shutting down Boston’s big names like they have been able to do over the past 6 or 7 periods of play. David Krejci, the league’s leading goal and point-scorer coming into this series, has been held to only 3 assists in 5 games and has been well-taken care of by the Blackhawks. He’s a target player and, like Jonathan Toews, is in the front of every Blackhawk mind at game-time.
Toews was well-taken care of by opponents through the first 2 series but breaking out against the LA Kings to enter the Boston series with 9 points (1G, 8A). Since then, however, he has recorded 5 points (1G, 4A) in 5 games against Boston. It helps that he was reunited with his old linemate from 2010, Patrick Kane. The duo combined for nearly 50 points on the road to the Stanley Cup just a few years ago.
Toews took a huge hit from Johnny Boychuk in Game 5 that put a stop to his night. After missing the remainder of the game, Quenneville is “optimistic” that Toews will play in Game 6 Monday night in Boston.
Bruins coach Claude Julien, however, is not so optimistic about his Patrice Bergeron playing in Game 6. Nothing major appeared to occur on the ice to cause an injury (nothing the cameras happened to spot, anyway) but Eddie Olcyzk takes another look at what the issue could be in Bergeron’s final shift of the night. He was taken to a local Chicago hospital before finishing the game and did not practice Monday with the team in Boston.
Duncan Keith has continued to be a workhorse for the Blackhawks, consistently recording the most (or second-most) time on ice per game. He has been great on pinches and adept at getting back on defense quickly, frustrating the Boston Bruins in games 4 and 5. He is an integral part of this team, along with his linemate Brent Seabrook, and will be a major factor in tonight’s game.
That said, Chicago will pay dearly if they continue to clear the puck poorly out of their own zone. It’s been a weakness for much of the 2012 – 2013 campaign and Boston is skilled at keeping the puck in the zone when the opponent attempts to clear. The Bruins have already capitalized on failed cleared attempts in this series and it would be wise of Chicago to focus on passing, which has been better of late.
Will the Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup in Boston or will it come down to a final showdown back in Chicago? Tonight’s the night we find out.