Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stanley Cup Finals: The Shaw-Shin Deflection - Yippie Paille

"With all of the 'Original Six' match-ups that we have witnessed during this postseason, it is only fitting that the final series of the season features two of those teams."

The Stanley Cup Finals will showcase the Boston Bruins taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in what should be an entertaining series to say the least.

Chicago is constructed much differently than the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blackhawks actually play defense and do not fully commit to offense on every shift. That all starts with their captain Jonathan Toews, one of the best defensive forwards in the game. In fact, he was the winner of this year's Selke Award. They have a solid goaltender in Corey Crawford, good blue liners, and some skilled offensive weapons. This team will be a much tougher challenge, so do not expect another four-game sweep.

However, the Blackhawks played a little over their heads throughout their historic streak that they went on earlier in the year. For all of their talent, the Penguins were the best team in the NHL. 

That is ancient history at this point. Chicago is still great from top to bottom. 

The Bruins were riding some serious momentum as they headed into Wednesday night for game one. The lineup that we all saw for game four against Pittsburgh was the lineup for the opening game of this series. Kaspars Daugavins actually played well in place of Gregory Campbell. The issue still has been the lack of production from the third line. 

You have to assume that this will be the series that Jaromir Jagr and Tyler Seguin break out. What better way to do it than in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Here we go for game one from the Windy City...and what a game this one turned out to be. 

The Bruins and Hawks entertained the crowd for the first 60 minutes. Hopefully this was a sign of things to come in the series. Milan Lucic recorded two goals and David Krejci racked up a pair of assists in regulation. Tuukka Rask did allow some goals due to defensive breakdowns, but he definitely did what he could to keep his team in it.

The B's did not test Crawford nearly as much as the Blackhawks tested Rask and that turned out to be key. For those of you who decided to stay awake for this instant classic, Chicago knocked off Boston in triple overtime by a final score of 4-3. Andrew Shaw beat Rask for the game winner as the puck deflected in off his leg. 

One thing to look out for as the series goes along is the agitator vs. agitator mind-game battle with Brad Marchand and Shaw (CHI). Each player likes to play that edgy style, but which team will let their opponent's "rat" get in their head first? 

Game two took place on Saturday night. With a two-day layoff in between games, the much-needed rest for the Bruins was vital. 

Nathan Horton did play in this one. He left game one with an apparent upper-body injury. He has been suffering from chronic shoulder subluxation ever since that fight he had with Penguins forward Jarome Iginla during the regular season. This is the time of the year where you have to play through the pain.  

The game was tied 1-1 heading into overtime when Daniel Paille netted the game winner. He also recorded an assist on Chris Kelly's goal that he scored in regulation. Paille and Kelly skated with Seguin on the third line as the game progressed. There is the production from that line we all have been waiting for.

We now have a series. Game three will be Monday night from the TD Garden.

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