2013 NHL Playoffs
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are set to meet in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams are looking for their second title win in the past few years. The Blackhawks won it all in 2010. The following season, the Bruins took home their first championship since 1972. With Game One set for Wednesday night, Chicago will have three days off in between contests. Boston will play on four days’ rest.
Chicago’s dominance in the regular season continued for much off the playoffs. They need just 10 games to get through their first and third round matchups. The team that led the NHL with 77 points, though, came dangerously close to getting upset in the second round. The Blackhawks came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings in seven games.
Much like Chicago, Boston had two easy rounds and one scare on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. It took them nine games to get through the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the last two rounds. The Bruins struggled to get by the Montreal Maple Leafs in the first round, however. The series went to a Game Seven after Boston held a 3-1 lead. They needed three goals in the third period, as well as overtime, to advance.
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With the 48-game condensed schedule, because of the lockout, the two teams never met in the regular season.
Blackhawks Key Players
Corey Crawford: After a terrific regular season, the goaltender has been even better in the playoffs. His 1.74 goals against average is the best of any goalie this postseason. Chicago will be very tough to beat if he continues his hot play.
Patrick Sharp: The Bruins shut down the Penguins top offensive weapons in the Eastern Conference Finals on their way to a sweep. Sharp leads Chicago with eight goals in the postseason, and will need to step up in order for the Blackhawks get their offense going this series.
Bruins Key Players
Tuukka Rask: Boston’s goaltender was the star of the conference finals. He allowed just two goals to the Penguins, shutting out the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. No matter how well Crawford plays for Chicago, the Blackhawks won’t win if his offense can’t provide him with any support.
David Krejci: The forward has been the team’s best player in the playoffs, leading them in points, goals and assists. Another strong series for Krejci could make him the top choice to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Evidence suggests that the Bruins won’t be able to get much done on the power play. Boston was 0-13 with a man advantage against Pittsburgh, and no team has been better on special teams than Chicago. They have led all playoff teams with a penalty killing percentage of just less than 95 percent.
Through their 64 regular and postseason games, Boston has been very difficult to score against. They were third in goals allowed before the playoffs, and have given up more than two goals in just three postseason games. In addition to Rask, defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara have been standouts.
Game 1: at Chicago, Wednesday, June 12, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Game 2: at Chicago, Saturday, June 15, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Game 3: at Boston, Monday, June 17, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Game 4: at Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 8 p.m. ET, NBC
Game 5: at Chicago, Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m. ET, NBC *
Game 6: at Boston, Monday, June 24, 8 p.m. ET, NBC *
Game 7: at Chicago, Wednesday, June 26, 8 p.m. ET, NBC*
Chicago in Seven