It looked like Boston was about to run away with Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final but Chicago fought back with the heart of a champion. The two teams ended up playing the fifth-longest game in the long history of the Cup finals but all that matters is that the Blackhawks are up 1-0. The two teams will have a couple of days to recover before Game 2 on Saturday. Once again, the Blackhawks are favored on the hockey betting lines.
Boston Bruins @ Chicago Blackhawks
Odds: Blackhawks -155
Andrew Shaw scored his fifth goal of the postseason 12:08 into the third overtime of Chicago’s 4-3 win over the Bruins on Wednesday night, while Dave Bolland, Brandon Saad and Johnny Oduya also got on the scoresheet for the Blackhawks. None of Chicago’s big-name players notched a point outside of Marian Hossa’s assist as the second-tier players stepped up, and that’s what you need when you get to this point in the postseason. The Blackhawks also needed 51 saves from Corey Crawford as the Bruins jumped out to a 2-0 lead (that also and quieted the United Center crowd.
Milan Lucic had two goals and an assist, while Patrice Bergeron also found the back of the net and David Krejci added a pair of assists to boost his playoff-leading total to 23 points, but the Bruins couldn’t make a two-goal lead stick on two occasions. Tuukka Rask made 59 saves for Boston, who will be disappointed that they didn’t put the Blackhawks away in regulation and you could argue that they had the better opportunities in the overtime periods. However, this Boston team is full of veterans that have been in many big games and they should be able to put this in the past before the puck drops for Game 2 on Saturday.
The Blackhawks are favored at -155 to win Game 2 at home, where they are 10-1 in the playoffs and that is why they fought so hard for the best record in the regular season; for home ice in the finals. Game 1 was the first meeting between the two Original Six teams since the Bruins won 3-2 in a shootout in October 2011, and this is also the first meeting between the two in the postseason since a Boston sweep in the 1978 quarterfinals. There isn’t a lot of history to go on between these two, but all you need to know is that they’re both stacked with quality players and it’s going to be tight.
Boston has to play like a team with its back against the wall in Game 2 because going down 2-0 to the ‘Hawks would be a tall order – even though they would be going back home. The Bruins were dominating Game 1 into the third period and took their foot off the gas a little, which let the Blackhawks back in it. They won’t make that mistake again as they earn a split of the first two games and send the series back to Boston knotted at one game apiece. The Bruins are offering good value on the NHL odds, so take advantage.
Pick: Bruins +135