Through four games, it’s hard to imagine an NHL playoff series could be played any closer. The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are tied at 2-2 as Game Five of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals approaches on Saturday. After each team stole a win on the road, the clubs will go back to Chicago.
Every game in the series has been close, but Game Four was unlike the others. The first three contests were dominated by defense, with only nine total goals scored in regulation. Goalies Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford continued their hot play from the previous rounds, keeping stars like Marian Hossa and David Krejci out of the net. Om Wednesday night, however, 11 total goals were scored, including five in the second period of the Blackhawks’ 6-5 overtime victory.
Chicago broke out of a prolonged offensive funk with their six goals, scoring one more time than they had in the previous three games combined. Patrick Kane was held to just one point in the first three games, but broke out with an assist and a goal in Game Four. If he can continue to produce like he did in the regular season, Rusk and the rest of the Bruins will have their hands full.
One of the biggest reasons for the Blackhawks inability to score had been their lack of production on special teams. Finally, they got a power play goal in Game Four from Patrick Sharp, as well as a shorthanded goal from Michal Handzus.
Marian Hossa is expected to play in Game Five after missing Game Three. He suited up on Wednesday but skipped Chicago’s practice on Friday. Head coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa was just resting his upper-body injury.
Betting Odds: Chicago-125, Boston+105
Early Prediction: Chicago 3, Boston 2