One of best Stanley Cup Finals in recent memory picks back up Saturday night as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Boston Bruins in Game Five at the United Center.
In Game Four, the Blackhawks evened the series 2-2 with an incredible 6-5 overtime victory. Boston could have taken a commanding lead in the series, but their typically stalwart defense couldn't withstand the scoring explosion from the Blackhawks.
The six goals were a playoff-high for Chicago, and it was by far most surrendered by Boston. The Bruins gave up three or more goals in four previous games during their postseason run.
Chicago swung the series back home, but nearly gave up a 3-1 second period lead in Game Four.
Head coach Joel Quenneville re-teamed the formidable No. 1 line of Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane, and the results woke up a Blackhawks offense that had scored one goal in the previous two games. Kane and Toews both scored their first goals of the series.
How that front line performs, along with goalie Corey Crawford protecting his glove side, could be huge factors on Saturday. Crawford made 28 saves on 33 shots, and though he’s been inconsistent this series, Quenneville told the Detroit Free Press that he will stick with the 28-year-old.
“No, we’re very comfortable with Corey,” Quenneville said. “Corey’s been rock solid all year for us. He’s the biggest reason why we’re here today.”
The stout and powerful Bruins defense suffered a serious blow in Game Four, and so did goalie Tuukka Rask.
The Fin looked like a Conn Smythe candidate throughout the playoffs, but let up six goals in Game Four. Boston tried to use their strength and size on the speedier Blackhawks, but Chicago still fired off 47 shots, an unmanageable total for Rask to handle.
Still, Boston.com compared Rask’s overall playoff performance to Tim Thomas’ when he helped the Bruins win the Cup in 2011. Despite the six goals in Game Four, he has an identical save percentage and a lower goals against average.
Chicago -150, Boston +130
Game 1: Chicago 4, Boston 3 (3OT)
Game 2: Boston 2, Chicago 1 (OT)
Game 3: Boston 2, Chicago 0
Game 4: Chicago 6, Boston 5 (OT)
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*