The Chicago Blackhawks Look to Hold Serve at Home
Coming off a riveting triple-overtime Game 1, both the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are eager to get back to work at the United Center for Game 2. The Blackhawks should have mounds of confidence after they were able to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the 3rd period of Game 1, while tying the game and eventually winning in the third overtime.
The Hawks have certainly been buoyed by their boisterous home crowd, but it has been the stellar play of players such as winger Marian Hossa, who assisted on the first Hawks’ goal by Brandon Saad’s early in the 2nd Period of Game 1. The Blackhawks had early troubles with the Bruins’ forecheck (particularly that of defenseman Zdeno Chara) but they were able to counter and find a groove later in the game, with goals by Dave Bolland and Johnny Oduya. Andrew Shaw eventually scored the final goal for the Hawks on a breakaway. The fact that the Hawks won despite Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews being shut out should also prove to be encouraging for the Hawks.
Boston was able to dictate the tempo of the game early in Game 1, particularly with their forecheck, and slick skating by Milan Lucic (two goals). Patrice Bergeron chipped in later in the game with a goal, but the issue for Boston is the fact that they are using several rookie defensemen. With a speedy top line for the Hawks, it is imperative that the Bruins are able to keep their 1st line fresh, while the young defensemen are not exploited by the Hawks’ 3rd and 4th lines.
Ultimately, goalie play will dictate the outcome of each game of this series. Corey Crawford had a messy start, but had several outstanding saves as the game progressed, including 60 minutes of shutout hockey in sudden death overtime. Tuukka Rask played well early, but began getting caught out of position as the Hawks came at him in waves later in the game. Given that the Madhouse on Madison will be rocking, and the Hawks’ confidence that they can score goals when they ultimately need them, the smart play would be Chicago -150 entering Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
” It Is Only A Game, Until You Bet It “