By Travis West
Two of the “original six” teams, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, have began their battle for hockey’s holy grail.
Two “original six” teams have not met in the Stanley Cup final since 1979 and in the short NHL season, these two teams have not faced one another all during the 2013 season until Game one of their series.
The Blackhawks won the first game against the Bruins, 4-3, in triple overtime. It was the 5th longest game in NHL Finals history.
The two teams match up well on paper, most analyst predict a long exhausting season and as a hockey fan myself, I expect the same.
Game one started out with the Bruins not willing to give an inch of the neutral zone to the Hawks. The game and series will come down to which team can overpower the other. Boston will does it with physicality; meanwhile, Chicago thrives with space and speed.
Boston will need to be able to contain two of the leagues most deadly scoring threats in Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Much like their last series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston will need to rattle the star players.
Not as easy as it sounds. The shifty Kane was a major factor in the game six against the Los Angeles Kings as he completed his first career playoff hat trick with the game winning goal in overtime. Toews is the leader of the high powered Hawks and has established himself as one of the better young captains in the league.
Even though the Hawks controlled the pace of the game in the early going, the Bruins were able to score first.
Milan Lucic notched one of his two goals of the night after an innocent looking dump in turned into the games first goal. David Krejci was able to beat the Chicago defender to the loose puck behind the Blackhawks goal and found Nathan Horton who delivered a one touch pass a streaking Lucic.
Lucic would strike again early in the second period. the Chicago forwards failed to back check and led to a 3-2 odd man rush. Krejci left the puck for Lucic and he took care of the rest.
Lucic’s two goals breaks a seven game scoreless streak.
The Blackhawks responded two minutes later with a Brandon Saad goal.
Although Toews and Kane remained neutralized, the Blackhawks supporting cast was able to keep the game close.
After a Patrice Bergeron power play goal in the third period, the Bruins led 3-1.
A beautiful pass from Andrew Shaw setup David Bolland for a wide open net, inching Chicago closer to overtime.
the NHL playoffs are full of dramatic moments and Johnny Oduya provided another.
With seven minutes left, Oduya’s slapshot from the point was redirected by a Boston defender and found its way to the back of the net, tying the game at 3-3 and sending the game into overtime.
Chances came and went with each overtime that went by. The marathon began to take its toll on both teams as the pace of the game began to slow.
In the end Chicago would complete its comeback. Shaw would end the game in the third overtime on a shot that changed direction twice before reaching Boston goalie Tukka Rask.
Chicago was able to control the pace of game one despite what the show scored. they outshot the Bruins, causing Rask to make more saves. Chicago’s biggest asset this late is depth. If one player doesn’t beat you another will.
The Bruins will need to slow down the game and the only way to do that is to throw their bodies around. Again, this is the first meeting between these two teams all year so things will only get better.