Playoff Threeview: Chicago & Boston
1. Blackhawks 36-7-5 (77 points, 1st in Central, 1st in Conference III) vs. 4. Bruins (28-14-6, 62 points, 2nd in Northeast)
Season Series— None. Here’s why.
Playoff Leaders— Blackhawks: Marian Hossa (7G, 7A, 14 Points), Patrick Sharp (8G, 6A, 14 Points), Patrick Kane (6G, 8A, 14 Points), Bryan “Bingo” Bickell (22.9 SH%), Michael “Freek-A-Lik” Frolik (1 SHG) Bruins: David Krejci (9G, 12A, 21 Points), Nathan Horton (3 GWG, 22.6 SH%, +21), Torey Krug (3 PPG), Kaspars Daugavins (Latvian)
Probable Goalies: Blackhawks: Corey Crawford (12-5, .935, 1.74); Bruins: Tuukka Rask (12-4, .943, 1.75)
Words & Music
“I think maybe our team was too young and stupid to even know what was going on.” — Mr Patty Kane on the last ‘Hawks Cup win, from TSN dot com, Best In Hockey.
Hey, not sure y’all heard, but this is the first time since “1979” that two Original Six have met for the Stanley Cup.
Locks & Keys
Damien Cox will surely be on the edge of his seat for what promises to be, primarily, a tough, grindy series decided in large part by which of Crawford and Rask blinks first. What’s that now? Cox is excited. I don’t even know what’s real anymore.
It’s true, though, that Crawford and Rask have put up mind-boggling numbers in these playoffs. Rask and his confreres held the Pittsburgh Penguins of Malkin and Crosby to two (2) goals in the Eastern Conference Finals. Crawford, too, has been brilliant — though it must be said, he is playing in the more, shall-we-say, space-free Western Conference.
So perhaps, then, this one comes down to who can get their forwards going. Much has been made of these playoffs as Bingo Bickell’s cotillion; with eight goals (including a couple of game winners) and five goals, he will, indeed be overpaid by Buffalo in the off-season. Much also was made of the paltry performance by Mr Patty Kane who, ya know, has more points than Bickell and is tied for the team lead with Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
For the Bruins, David Krecji has continued to be the stupendous playoff performer we saw during the Bruins last Cup run and the play of Future Rumored Nashville Predators Free Agent Target Nathan Horton has impressed.
Across the back, the Bruins still have ginormo robot lord Zdeno Chara, while the Hawks’ Nick Leddy is earning himself future Roman Josi money.
In any event, fans of wide-open, 7-5 hockey games should pull out their tapes of an old (2012) Flyers-Pens series because, as Cox joked (?), a lot of these games are going to be first-to-three (if that). Secondary scoring — Bickell, Frolik for the Hawks; Lucic and the ageless Jagr for the Bruins — will be the key.
Call & Response
Conference III is behind the Hawks once again, but it won’t be easy. Give me Chicago in seven. Adam Kauffman of Boston.com goes the other way, showing incredible restraint in waiting until his third paragraph to mention 1979 and then picking the Bruins in six.