One day away from the Stanley Cup Finals and it is time to preview the teams.
This post will be featuring the forwards of the two teams.
The Bruins, who I always talk about are a dangerous team when they are scoring. The Blackhawks are very much the same.
The Blackhawks three most dangerous forwards between Toews, Kane and Hossa. Then their second tier players Bickell, Sharp, Saad, Stahlberg and the bunch are also forces and have come alive this postseason.
The Bruins have been rolling their lines and been successful with three of their four. The Krejci line has been phenomenal this playoffs, legendary even. Their next trio of Bergeron, Jagr and Marchand has stepped it up for a more even keeled attack. Their other two lines are the big questions in this series.
The question for the coaches is what forward line will play against the Toews and Kane line. If its Krejci and Horton going against their top line it’ll be interesting to see Bickell and Lucic trade heavy hits and see who is the bigger player. If the Toews line goes against the Bergeron line it’ll be a huge mismatch for Chicago, if they win the faceoff. Kane can outskate Jagr and dangle past Marchand; while Bickell will power past Jagr and potentially injure Marchand.
If I am Claude Julien I am matching up the Bergeron line with the Hossa-Sharp line, Marchand can get under their skins while Jagr can handle Hossa and his dangling.
The big question will be how the third lines will matchup. The “triple S” line of the Blackhawks, Saad, Stahlberg and Shaw have magically clicked and torn it up this postseason. Their counterparts on the other hand are not producing as much as we would like. However the new combination of Daugavins and Seguin will be quick and can pick the blocker side of Crawford.
The fourth lines of these two teams are the most talented in the league and will be tested by each other. The Bruins will miss Campbell but will hope to see Kelly produce similar numbers or even more. The Blackhawks are going to be tested by the merlot line, however the line led by Handzus will do it’s best to corrall the bunch and keep them from getting their chances.
The defenses of these two team will be up to the test. The Bruins haven’t exactly faced this much of a team seeing as Pittsburgh gifted them by putting up 2 goals all series. The Blackhawks have faced a forechecking team like the Bruins before, they just beat the Kings who play a similar style of game.
The Bruins will have to face 3 lines that can really score and put the pressure on whenever they are on the ice. The Blackhawks will have the same test.
It’s going to come down to who has the better lower defensemen. For the Bruins it is Krug and McQuaid who have been awesome this postseason. The Blackhawks are at a clear disadvantage in this department because after Oduya their power is lesser.
Chara and Seidenberg will be put to the test no matter what line they are put up against. In fact each and every line is going to be a test for the D-pairs. Krug and McQuaid will have to stop Kane and Toews at least once on a two on two battle. It’ll be important for the forwards to cover the points in this series. If not Tuukka will have a tougher test ahead of him.
Speaking of Tuukka. Bot teams have lights out goalies who have just started playing their best hockey. Rask is a wall from the waist down, and Crawford is a quick side to side goalie who will frustrate the Bruins to no avail. The offenses will be put to the test and who ever is most patient will finally crack the scoresheet, and potentially the series.
The Coaches are two of the best in the league and each will be pinned against the wall in this series.
+I won’t make my prediction until tomorrow so check back in before puck drop.