The Bruins picked up a road win on Saturday and a shutout win on Monday to go up two games to one against the Chicago Blackhawks. Boston looks like the team we have seen since beating Toronto in the first round the playoffs. The Blackhawks look kind of like the team that was down three games to one against the Red Wings in the second round of the playoffs.
Boston has all of the momentum right now, but don’t count Chicago out!
As it is said in the playoffs all the time, it isn’t over until someone wins a fourth game.
Keys for Chicago to win
Chicago has three things they need to improve on in order to have success:
- Increase the tempo of the game. When Chicago is on fire, they spread the ice out with their quickness. Defensemen such as Duncan Keith are able to outskate Boston’s forwards. They need to get back to keeping the game fast-paced and not allow Boston to work their power offense. This comes from quick breakouts, and being able to get around the big defensemen of Boston.
- Stay disciplined. It is evident that Chicago isn’t going to win this series through the play of their special teams. Boston plays very physical and it is only a matter of time until they receive penalties. Chicago needs to stay composed, not retaliate, and not take ‘stupid penalties’ (too many men).
- Beat Tuukka Rask. Yes, this is an obvious statement, but this is essential to the success of the Blackhawks. Boston has found a way to score on Corey Crawford by making him move around and capitalizing upon those opportunities. Chicago needs to do the same. Rask has been outstanding thus far and will be able to save the first shot every time. Expect Bickell to have a significant rest of the series by creating traffic in front of Rask.
Keys for continual Bruin success
- Force the Blackhawks skaters to the outside. They have had success by not allowing Kane to dangle around the Bruins’ defense. As long as they force the Blackhawks to take low-quality shots on Rask, they will be able to continue to shut down their quick offense.
- Out-work the Blackhawks. The Bruins do not have more speed than the Blackhawks, nor do they have more flash. Their success comes from their physicality, ability to keep the game at their pace, and their ability to control the puck along the boards. Although unable to produce a lot of offense, the 41 year old Jagr has been sensational at controlling the puck along the boards in the offensive zone.
Assuming Chicago stays healthy, the Blackhawks should be able to bounce back. As I said earlier, the Blackhawks have been in a situation like this before. If they play the game at their tempo and beat the Bruins with speed, they will be able to pull out a couple wins.
Because of this (plus to stay with my original prediction of the Bruins winning in Game 7), I predict that the Blackhawks will win two of the next three games; eventually leading to a loss at home in Game 7.
Comment your own predictions below, and continue to look for more updates as the series progresses.
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