The game ending could have been lifted from some hockey movie.
It had seemed like everybody had predicted the Boston Bruins would win the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks wouldn't stand up to the Bruins' style of play, it was said. Although Chicago held the 3-2 going into Game 6, Boston had proven themselves solid at home. Anticipation was high for a return to Chicago for an epic Game 7.
The game unfolded that way, too. The Bruins grabbed the lead early, on a Chris Kelly goal 7:19 into the first. Boston was controlling the game, dominating the first by a wide margin.
Jonathan Toews got Chicago on the board 4:24 into the second, tying the game as Chicago...
In 2010, the Blackhawks were headed into Philadelphia for Game 6, up 3-2 in the series against the Flyers. In 2011, it was Boston at home, down 2-3 versus the Presidents' Trophy-winning Canucks. Both teams won their respective games.
These aren't the same Blackhawks. These aren't the same Bruins.
Both teams have a number of core players who were on their Cup-winning teams before. Those players know what has to be done and have to lead the way for the rest. Nobody can doubt that any player on other team doesn't have the will and desire to do whatever needs to be done to close out the series.
The Blackhawks knew they had to be far better in Game 4 if they wanted any hope of salvaging the series, and they came out swinging from the very first faceoff, which they won.
After a penalty call was given to Johnny Oduya for interference, a team converted on Boston's power play - but it wasn't the Bruins. Chicago got their first goal at 6:48, a shorthanded goal by Michal Handzus off a feed by Brandon Saad.
The two halves of the first period looked very different; after dominating much of the first half, the Blackhawks allowed the Bruins to start having a lot of pressure in their end. During a Bruins powerplay, Saad would bobble a clearing attempt; Rich Pev...
The injury rumors are starting to fly thickly now: that Hossa may be nursing a neck or hip injury; that Toews may have injuries of his own. Marian Hossa not playing in game three, and Jonathan Toews taking enough ice time to be well-down the TOI chart in the same game lends weight to those rumors.
Game four of the Stanley Cup Final is in Boston on Wednesday night. Right now, the Bruins feel they have the upper hand. They're playing the way they want to play, punishing the speedy Blackhawks, living up to their historical moniker of "the Big, Bad Bruins". Beyond that, they're playing for a noble cause, a cause that's bigger than all of them and even bigger t...
Before the puck even dropped to start the game, an unpleasant surprise happened for the Blackhawks: winger Marian Hossa was a last-minute scratch when he was injured during warmups. Rookie Ben Smith filled his spot on the roster, and Coach Joel Quenneville started his line shake-ups early, looking for some fresh chemistry against the Bruins.
The problems that have plagued Chicago this series are not new; some of them stretch back over the past two seasons. The team struggling to enter the offensive zone on power plays is a big one. They also continue to lack any net-front presence, not really forcing the opposing goalie to work for the big saves and early dirty goals. Individua...
The series is a long way from over, now down to a best-of-five, as the Blackhawks and Bruins head to Boston tied 1-1.
Before the series started, the series could be argued in favor of either team, although many hockey folks seemed to favor the Bruins. "Zdeno Chara will shut them down," "Tuukka Rask is riding a hot streak" - as if that was all it would take.
Both Chara and Rask have showed themselves to be human and beatable in the first two games. The first game (an instant classic, with three overtimes) displayed both sides of Rask. In that game, Chicago scored four goals on the Finnish netminder - twice as many as the Penguins had managed in an ...
After coming off of that marathon game on Wednesday night the Chicago Blackhawks came out in the first period on fire and thoroughly dominated the Bruins. The Shots were 19-4 in favor of the Hawks. The unfortunate thing is they only had one goal to show for all their efforts.
The goal was scored by Patrick Sharp after a flurry of shots were blasted at the Bruins netminder with Tuukka Rask down Sharp was able to get the puck past him for the Hawks lone goal of the night. The Hawks team speed was evident in the first period as they were much faster than the Bruins.
There was another goal that was disallowed due to the whistle being blown. Whether it was t...