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 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...
As the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks prepare to face off against one another in Chicago on Wednesday night, let's take a look at both teams by their playoff numbers thus far.
Boston has had 22 players dress in 16 games. Their top two scorers (Krejci and Horton) are not their top regular season scorers. (Their top scorers, in order, during the regular season were Marchand , Krejci/Seguin/Bergeron ). There is a gap in production after those two, although the next four top scorers (Marchand, Lucic, Bergeron, Chara) are much closer in scoring. The Bruins have 6 players with an average TOI of over 20:39; their highest is Chara with 29:21, who plays 5:11 more/gam...
And then there were two. It took two overtimes for the Chicago Blackhawks to punch their ticket back to the Stanley Cup Finals but they did. They now are returning there for an opportunity at the most coveted trophy in sports.
The game saw the return of two key players for each side, Mike Richards for the Kings and Duncan Keith for the Blackhawks. Both players factored into the game in significant ways.
Duncan Keith got the scoring going in the first with what would have to be categorized as a soft goal by Jonathan Quick. Keith fired off a slap shot just inside the Kings blue line that squeaked through Quick’s pads into the net.
As of tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks have now won five straight games in the playoffs. It's not the same streak as the one that started the season, but it's certainly one that they'll take, because it means they're off to a 2-0 start in the Western Conference Final.
It didn't take long for the Blackhawks to score in game 2; Andrew Shaw dented the twine just 1:56 into the first. The Blackhawks took two penalties during the period, but the Kings couldn't convert, even while outshooting Chicago 13-9. Brent Seabrook hammered in a second goal with 51 seconds remaining in the first to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead.
The New York Islanders are currently on the outside looking in on the final match-ups of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who elimated the Isles in six games, are currently set to battle the Boston Bruins to see who will fight for the Cup from the Eastern Conference (Photo credit: douglasgallery30/Flickr).
One Islanders skater, Travis Hamonic, has been spending time in his cottage up north in Canada, enjoying some personal time away from the game.
The 22-year old defenseman is someone I have followed since his days in the WHL after being drafted by the Islanders with the 53rd overall pick of the 2008 Entry Draft. Since then, he has emerged from an inexperienced rookie into a reliable top-four defender, responsible for shutting down an opponent's top scorers.
Hamonic called me this afternoon (once he found a spot with good cell service) to discuss his game, the first round match-up against the Pens and the culture that has overtaken the Islanders locker room.