The Chicago Blackhawks will host the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in Game One of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. The puck is scheduled to drop at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. Both teams are only a few years removed from winning championships, and are looking to become the first team to win multiple titles in the salary cap era.
If either team can find a way to score more than one goal, they should be in a very good position to take Game One. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask allowed just two goals in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing against the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Corey Crawford has performed as well as any goaltender in the playoffs, allowing a league-best 1.74 goals per game.
On offense, David Krejci has been the Bruin’s main source of production. With 21 points in the postseason, he could be on his way to winning the Conn Smyth Trophy. For the Blackhawks, Patrick Kane is playing like the forward that helped the team win it all in 2010. Either Krejci or Kane will have to step up against a stingy defense to help his team get on the board.
2013 NHL Playoff Stats
Chicago: 2.76 goals per game, 1.94 goals against per game, 13.7% power play, 94.7% penalty kill
Boston: 3.13 goals per game, 1.88 goals against per game, 15.6% power play, 86.5% penalty kill
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Putting the regular season aside, both teams enter the Stanley Cup Finals very evenly matched. They have hot goaltenders that have emerged as top players at their position, and defensemen that have been able to shut down the opposition’s best goal scores. With the game being held at the United Center, though, the advantage goes to the Blackhawks, who have been almost unbeatable at home.
Chicago 2, Boston 1