Stanley Cup Final Preview: Defense The Heartbeat Of Boston, Chicago

BOS vs CHI Cup

On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks will host the Bruins in Game One of the Stanley Cup Final. The two Original Six franchises have never met in the Final, and two Original Six franchises haven’t battled for the game’s ultimate prize in 34 years.

The match-up should be spectacular and historic. What can fans look forward to? Let’s discuss three areas in which defensive match-ups will play a significant role in the Cup Final.


Selke Smooth

Two of the three finalists for this year’s Selke Award, given to the best defensive forward in the league, will be featured in this series. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews hopes to win the award for the first time this year, and in this series will see a lot of one of the other finalists and the 2012 winner, Boston center Patrice Bergeron.

During the regular season, Bergeron was the only center with a better faceoff percentage (62.1) than Toews (59.9). Toews finished the regular season tied with Pavel Datsyuk for the NHL lead with 56 takaways as well.

In the playoffs, Toews is skating 21:02 per night while Bergeron is averaging 20:39 per game. Toews is winning 53.1 percent of his postseason faceoffs while Bergeron is winning 61 percent. Bergeron has five goals and six assists while Toews has one goal and eight assists. Both are plus-four entering the Final.

They were teammates on Canada’s 2010 gold medal-winning Olympic team and both are supreme competitors. Fans will be treated to watch two of the finest all-around forwards in the NHL in the series.


Who’s Hottest In Net?

This series will feature two goaltenders who watched many of their teammates win the Cup in the last few years, but who weren’t the man between the pipes at that time. Corey Crawford is still trying to win respect and get out of Antti Niemi’s shadow, while Tuukka Rask is trying to help Boston forget Tim Thomas.

Now, one of them will have his name engraved on the Cup.

They are the two best netminders in the postseason, which shouldn’t surprise that they are the final two remaining.

Crawford is 12-5-1 with a 1.74 goals against average, .935 save percentage and one shutout.

Rask is 12-4-1 with a 1.75 goals against average, .943 save percentage and two shutouts.

Both have won a game in a second overtime during the postseason, and both have answered their critics in many ways. Crawford has faced two strong, defensive teams in a row and out-played both Jimmy Howard and 2012 Conn Smythe-winner Jonathan Quick in these playoffs.

Kruger Carter

Short-Handed Advantage

During the regular season, the penalty kill units of the Blackhawks and Bruins were among the best in the NHL; Chicago ranked third (87.2 percent) and Boston ranked fourth (87.1).

In the postseason, the Blackhawks have taken their PK to another level, dominating through three rounds. The Hawks have allowed only three powerplay goals in 17 playoff games, a phenomenal 94.8 kill rate. The Bruins, meanwhile, have allowed seven goals in 16 games, an 86.5 kill percentage.

The game-changer on special teams might be the absence of Gregory Campbell, who is done for the rest of the postseason with a broken leg suffered while blocking a shot in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final. Campbell led all Bruins, averaging 2:08 short-handed per game in these playoffs.

We’ll look at the defensemen and the rest of the forwards between now and Game One.

45 thoughts on “Stanley Cup Final Preview: Defense The Heartbeat Of Boston, Chicago

  1. Boston is a formidable team. Better team than anything the Hawks faced in the Western Conference this season, that’s for sure. They have offensive firepower, play defense, are deep and physical. They also have a goaltender who has played exceptional for 3 months.

    The Hawks will be underdogs in this series. I could care less about that. The Hawks can beat Boston, but its going to take a superlative effort all the way around. Shaw and Bolland shall be counted upon heavily to play gritty two-way hockey to contend with Marchand and Krejci. Hossa and Sharp will have their hands full, but they both need to be solid on both ends of the ice. They will probably find themselves paired against the Bergeron line a lot of times…which will be tough duty. I could go on and on about player matchups, but the point is the Hawks will need to be hitting on near all cylinders. Meaning guys like Stalberg and Saad will have to contribute to the energy on the ice at a minimum. Meaning 3 defensive pairings will have to keep up the excellent play. It goes without saying that Crawford will have to be near the top of his game. He’s going to face way more shots than he did against Minnesota, Detroit and LA…none of those teams were exactly offensive juggernauts.

  2. Is Bolland the defensive key? If the line of Frolik, Bolland, and Kruger can play like they did in the Western Conference Finals Game 5 and have a lot of offensive zone time, that would be huge. It would also be nice to give that 4th line an opportunity against lines 1 or 2 from Boston from time to time to give our top lines a shot against someone else.

    This series is going to be tough, but it is also the Stanley Cup Final. People picking the Bruins to run away with it are crazy in my opinion. This is going to be a hard-fought, long series. If Crawford, who has played well, steals a game for us, I mean just is unbeatable for one game; I like our chances.

  3. Great insight Tab there isn’t a lot of seperation between these 2 clubs. Its very much anything you can do better type thing. However it appears the Hawks do everything slightly better. I think the Bruins dslightly weaker (minus Chara)and more inexperienced. It’s very much going to boil down to 2 factors. Coaching and team speed. I like the Hawks in those 2 areas. I really hope Coach Q has a pow-wow with the hockey god in the executive suit prior to this matchup.

  4. Rufus – Valid points & I agree, but also don’t you think Boston is saying the same things about our guys?

    Both teams are scary to each other as they should be. If either team takes the other too lightly they are doomed! I highly doubt that will happen.

    They beat the purported “best” team in the league & we beat the defending champs so we are both flying high in confidence.

    This is a “Dream” match-up for the league! No matter who you root for all of us “true” hockey fans are in for quite a treat!!

    Truly the “BEST” team in the NHL will win the cup! How awesome is that!

  5. The vagaries of sport are supposed to be smoothed out over a best of seven series – the bounce of the puck one way versus the other – a penalty called or not called – all the unpredictable things that often times swing momentum or even the series in one direction instead of the other. In a word – luck. Luck plays a role and the winning team usually gets a bit more of it than the losing team. For the Hawks to beat the Bruins, I think they will need a bit more luck than the other guys need.

    But, to quote Hemingway “you make your own luck”, and this is where I give the Hawks a slight advantage over the Bruins. The “will to win” is a nebulous phrase – an intangible that can’t be measured by statistics or inspired with words. It is a quality that rare individuals have that enable them to dig deeper than the rest of us and it is this quality that leads those around him to believe in him and themselves. Jonathan Toews is that rare individual. His teammates believe.

    Blackhawks in 7.

  6. ER- I was going to post pretty much the same thought.

    This series is going to come down to who digs deepest. Both sides are playing phenominal hockey, and both sides will get chances. I see each team holding home ice through the first 5, and with a chance to close out the series in 6, it will be the vets like Toews, Keith, and Hossa who will will smell the blood in the water, and get EVERYONE to dig for Game 6.

    Hawks in 6.

    LETS GO!

  7. Great comments and insight from everyone as usual. The “experts” are all saying that the Bruins will win the Cup and that the Hawks won’t be able to handle Charra. I tend to believe that skill and speed are tough to handle in todays NHL.

    So what this means is simple………the top (2) lines will cancel each other out. The top (6) offensive players on each team are very good and are equal in skill and offensive abilities. The coaching staffs are both very good and full of experience, so they will cancel each other out, too. The goalies are both proven net minders and are “big game” tested and have proven their worth to their teams and the rest of the league, so they will cancel each other out. The top (4) defenseman on each team are excellent puck movers and protectors of their zones. We move the puck better, but they are heavy hitters. They will cancel each other out.

    So that leaves our third line “D” against their third line “D” and our 3rd and 4th offensive lines against their bottom 6 offensive players. In my opinion, our speed and skill will overwhelm the Bruins and we will beat them in 6 games. Charra maybe a great player, but he can’t play all 60 minutes of a game.

  8. Leaks are reporting that Montreal’s PK Subban will win the Norris.

    Subban signed a two-year deal w/ a $2.875M cap hit before this season.

    That should help keep Leddy affordable this summer.

  9. Thanks Tab for your part one of the SC Final preview and thanks to all fellow Hawks fans for their comments.
    First of all, I’m very excited that two original six teams will meet in the final. As others have already pointed out, whether you’re rooting for CHI or BOS it’ll be an epic final, hopefully with the better end for the Hawks. Back in March, with the Hawks dominating the league by a wide margin (21-0-3 record), a Brunis fan on the NHL website was lamenting the fact that there would be no comparison this season between Eastern and Western Conference teams. I (half-jokingly) told him not to worry, we would definitely meet this season (obviously i meant in the postseason), which he found funny. Yeah, I’m certainly not a prophet, but my prediction has become reality, which is awesome. Would I have bet on a matchup between those two teams? NO (even though you don’t have to be prophet to predict a matchup between the best team of the reg season and one that is at its best come crunch time)! Should I have made a bet? Maybe. My point is whether you’re “just” a passionate hockey fan or a so-called “hockey analyst for the NHL network”, all you can do is predict. There is no scientific formula which you can use..too many irrational x-factors that can determine the outcome of a series, you never know how a team responds to adversity, what the team chemistry is like etc. There’s only one wisdom: You will face a lot of obstacles and have to overcome adversity if you want to win the SC.
    The B’s miraculously avoided elimination in round 1, the Hawks were also on the brink of elimination, but were able to strike back (e.g. my prediction was the Hawks in 4). I won’t predict the SC Final, but provided the Hawks are off to a good start on home ice, I don’t think they’re gonna lose. The Hawks didn’t play their best hockey until game 5 vs. DET and it took them till game 1 vs. LA when they finally played a complete game, dominating the Kings for 60 minutes.
    It’ll be very tough against Boston, but provided the Hawks play as well as vs. LA, there is no way we’re gonna lose to the B’s. Brad is absolutely right: the Hawks have too much skill and speed for the B’s. The only thing that worries me is CC’s rebound control. Don’t get me wrong, CC has been a very good goalie for CHI all season long, but his rebound control is average at best. Rask, on the other hand, is much better at that (it’s a fact that Finnish and American goalies are the crème de la crème of the last few years in the NHL), but teams such as DET have proven that you can win SC’s without superior goaltending. THe Hawks have such great defense and block so many shots, they just need CC to make the routine saves. Let’s go Hawks!

  10. Gonchar at a $5MM hit for 2 years at age 39, you gotta be kidding me.
    Josi at $4MM hit for 7 years…….I can see it but that is big money.

    And Leddy will be worth how much??

  11. Will be interesting to see where Leddy wants to go with his next deal… Josi getting long-term ink is intriguing, but to me that impacts Hjalmarsson’s next deal more than Leddy’s. With Subban taking a two-year deal, that might be the more likely route for Leddy at this point. It’s worth noting that Hjalmarsson & Subban will both be free agents in 2014.

  12. Boston – Chicago is indeed a dream matchup for the NHL. It also pits what are believe are CLEARLY the two best teams in hockey. The experts like Boston. Hawks will need to prove the experts wrong. But for the Hawks to win the Cup I do think we will need to play the best hockey of the season and hit on all cylinders. What does that blindingly obvious statement mean?!? Well, it means that guys like Leddy, Stalberg, Saad, etc. will have to step up and be consistent and aggressive contributors on every shift. It means the PK, a core strength of the Hawks, will need to be outstanding. It means Crawford will have to be at the top of his game…he hasn’t faced the quality and depth of offensive attack that Boston brings to the table so far in the playoffs. It means that the “core 4” on offense (Sharp, Hossa, Toews and Kane) will need to rise to the ocassion in crucial game moments. It means Shaw and Bolland (gulp) will need to play out of their mind defensive / PITA style hockey.

    I think this series comes down to which goaltender proves better in the series. I really do. Crawford is a huge reason why we’ve made it to the Finals, but he’s going to have to take his game up another notch I believe.

  13. The difference between Boston and Chicago was 15 points and 24 goals playing in a considerably weaker conference.

    Playoffs are different, blah blah blah, grit, size, goalie, blah blah blah. Not sure how every team is so much better equipped than the Hawks who steamrolled through the season and just won the WCF. Other than superfluous, stinky, runny BS there is no measurable statistic that says the Hawks aren’t the best team in the league.

    When Boston has seen speed this post season they have ridden the struggle bus. They have not seen a team that can get good goaltending and great defense at the same time. Chara cannot play against all of Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa simultaneously.

    It will be closely contended, similar to the Kings series, but the Hawks should be able to handle them.

  14. Stinky……….you are correct, sir. Speed and skill will beat strength and size, anyday. Saturday night, on the first goal by Duncan Keith, he read the play, swung to the open ice and scored on a slapshot…….all why backpeddling through the neutral zone!! There might be (1) other defensman in the league that can do all that and he used to play for the Hawks and is now in Florida.

    Not only do we have speed, we have quickness. Quickness side to side, front to back, back to front, side to front, side to back…… name it and we have quickness!! I believe that this team is quicker than the 2010 cup winner, too. Not faster…….quicker.
    Frolik, Krueger and Stahlberg are quicker than most 3rd line players in the NHL. Bickel gained a step ot two playing in Europe during the lockout. Saad, for a big kid has very quick feet, too. We all know that our first 2 lines have speed, quickness and skill, but our 3rd and 4th lines will give Boston fits!!

    Lucic can take runs at our guys all night, if he can catch them. Chara is going to be chasing the puck so much that he’ll be dog tired by the middle of the second period.
    Remember, the experts said that the Kings would pound the Hawks into the third row. They probably could have if they could catch ’em. The Kings would dump the puck into the corner and by the time they forechecked, we had the puck out and had an odd man break going the other way.

    Speed, quickness and skill are hard to stop.

    Hawks in 6!!

  15. Two things I’ve heard are almost comical. First, is the notion that this B’s team is somewhat “UNBEATABLE”, They are a very good team and if I’m wrong which happens then they will have earned this cup but this notion that they are flawless is very amusing. I’m not surprised at all that the “experts” and national media have installed them as the favorite,….complete east coast bias. Almost as funny as all the league MVP’s coming out of the East too. I was listening to TSN online and some of their media just said, “we had a hard time staying up for Kings Hawks game” really??? LOL.

    The 2nd point is the Hawks are comparable to the Pens outside of their ability to score the Hawks and Pens have very , little in common. As Tab and other know I was swept up in the Pens “superstars” but itelligent hockey fans should know stars don’t automatically mean a championship! Go Hawks!

  16. Vegas has the Hawks as favorites. Do you trust “hockey experts” or people that make a boat load of money off of people following experts?

  17. Even moreso than the speed, its our tenacity that will sink the bruins. The Hawks just keep coming and coming, which eventually takes its toll and the Hawks are able to impose their will…even during game 3 (the loss in LA), after a horrid effort for the first 2 periods, the Hawks begain to wear down the Kings (on the road), and had the opportunity to win that game…the bruins faced tenacity once during these playoffs, versus the on again/off again Leafs…and barely came back to win that series…

  18. The team that has the most players playing well will win…..duh. Of course our 3d and 4th line have to play well….so do the 1st and 2cd lines as well as all 3 D lines. Conversely, so do theirs. This series will come down to which team executes their strengths and game plan better. This is the SC finals. With the exception of the goalies, looking for weaknesses in the other team does not make SC champions.

    Tab, I to think Leddy will “settle” for a 2, maybe 3 year contract that will allow him to develop. Leddy has not had the benefit of much time in the AHL to develop leadership skills. So right now, anyway, he is a 3 D man at best and a 4th or 5th D man on most contending teams. A 3 year contract makes him 25 and a UFA. That is when he will look for a longer term deal. I think the same holds for Kruger and maybe Bickell as well.

  19. Interesting JS, I was surprised when Vegas installed the Pens as favorites going into the playoffs. I’m glad that they see the Hawks as the favorites now

  20. When I saw CC as 16/1 to win the CS at the start of the playoffs, I couldn’t help but laugh. CC with the same CS odds as Crosby? Yeah ok. And now… if this series is low scoring and the Hawks win, Corey is totally taking it home. Weird.

    Funny that Boston is being lauded so much for their depth when top to bottom the Hawks have had pretty good scoring out put from every line. It would be nice for Slick Vik and Saad to get on the board and I have a feeling we will see some of that in this series.

    Also, size difference. I think I saw a tweet about it yesterday (I may have been drunk and/or dreaming it) but the Hawks are actually a bigger team than Boston. Thought that was weird. I know they don’t play bigger, but they might not be thrown around as easily as people think.

  21. “What if” sports played 1000 simulation games between the Bruins and Hawks on their sports computer and they have predicted that the Hawks will win the series 4-1.

    I am not a computer guy, but I really believe that the Hawks will win in 6 games.

    What I REALLY want to see is the epic battle that will be Dave Bolland against Brad Marchand in “who can antaganize the other guy the most” and get him to go to the penalty box. Those two guys will set a record for slashing, cross checking and trash talking!! I Can’t wait to see it!!!!

  22. And as I talk about Stalberg making a difference in the next series, he is wearing a white jersey in practice. Possibility of Bollig starting over him is making me very sad in the pants.

  23. JS……..Stahlberg is an enigma. He looks fantastic for three games and then he goes away for 6 games. Against Boston, we need his speed to pin back their “D”. I like the guy and want him to do well, but I just wish he was more consistent.

    He’s not a pure goal scorer, but his speed is what gets him room on the ice. I’d rather have him against Boston than Bollig. We’ll see if “Q” can motivate him and get him a goal, or two, to get him going.

    Hawks in 6!!

  24. I wouldn’t really mind if they sat Stalberg, but replacing him with anyone out of Bollig, Carcillo, or Mayers would be a mistake. I’d prefer seeing Ben Smith in particular in there. Hayes or Morin would also be acceptable choices.

  25. I just heard the lines on the radio




    Sorry i don’t bollig number 52? With frolik and Krueger

  26. There is also a pretty good chance he’s running those lines to make Boston game plan for something they aren’t going to see.

    I’m really hoping the Hawks carry the tempo and make the Bruins adjust to their style of play. When you’re the better team you have to dictate play, a lot like the Hawks did against LA.

  27. If I’m Quenneville, then I sit Stalberg for at least game one. Stalberg has been a non-factor or outright trainwreck throughout these playoffs. He can’t clear the puck, he can’t keep the puck on his stick and his defensive breakdowns are maddening. I’d feel a lot better inserting Bollig or Carcillo. ESPECIALLY with Marchand and Krejci wanting to be holy terrors on the ice. Marchand is a honey badger on ice who plays at the pace of the Tasmanian devil looking for meal. Shaw and/or Bolland aren’t enough to contend with a Boston strategy to play flat out nasty ass hockey.

    Nobody can defend playing Stalberg at this point. Nobody.

  28. I wouldn’t pay much attn to practice pairings, Q would be nuts to break up Bickell/Toews/Kane at this point. Bicks is proving that what many of us have been screaming for from Stan these past 2 seasons- a big body who can be physical is a critical support/complement to our top line. It’s why #19 was so supportive of Carcillo as a linemate until he was injured, he knows they need size and/or toughness to support him. Line-2 of Zues/Hoss/Sharp is also a winner and spells trouble for Boston. Essentially two top lines they’ll need to defend. Will wear them out over the series. The Bolland/Shaw/Marchand feisty-fest should also be entertaining. Going to need some size to work on Lucic and will be interesting how Q works his lineup at home (Bollig?)

    Hate the 2 days off schedule from Wed – Sat each week (helps the B’s rest up after chasing Hawks all nite), but think we have a much better odds than the Nat’l media seems to think. Assuming CC stays steady, we have too deep a D, too many weapons and too quick a transition team to lose this series. We’ll need to stand up and HIT somebody OFTEN, but I say the Hawks will shock the world and win in 5-6 games.. That said, it will be CRITICAL we win on Wed to set the tone.. BIG stakes..

  29. I hope this underdog talk will give the Hawks a chip on their shoulder, but I don’t think either of these teams will need anything more than the SCF itself to be hyped/motivated.

    I wish that I would’ve watched Boston more, I only know what I’ve read and watched in highlights for the most part.

    I do know that I’ve watched every Hawks game and seen them defeat opponents with various strengths. The Kings were defending champs, we handled them in 5. If Boston is a better version of the Kings, I still fully expect us to win this championship. I’ll applaud the effort and outstanding perseverance in the wings series for a WC championship season, but I’ll be very disappointed if the Hawks can’t put together a winning SCF. 4 wins away…what a great season so far!

  30. Rufus- I can defend Playing Stalberg in one word- Bollig!

    I think even if 25 doesn’t score… he can be effective dumping/chasing puck w/ speed and making the D skate hard… and I think he is over due to score… as is Seguin, Jagr for B’s.

    Negzz- I think Q will use those lines from practice… he is trying to hide Kane from Chara… if it doesn’t work- he will of course flip lines…

    Yep, Marchand is an older, stronger, better version of Shaw… should be a lot of hack-n-wack there!

  31. JS-Bruins are bigger – at least by weight/lbs. I Didn’t do a height stat.

    Joel, The Hawks did skate circles around Kings- But some of Kings best players were injured… Richards missed 3 out of 5… Stoll recovering from Concussion, Williams separated shoulder (recovering)… AND there captain pig-nose Brown Skated entire Series with a Torn PCL in knee… now that is a MAN!!!

  32. Stalberg does nothing well or even acceptable versus quality opponents. We are in the Cup finals and he is leaving via free agency. I don’t think now is the time to keeping dicking around with fitting the guy into a role! Bollig or Carcillo are the better fit in this series instead of Jack Skille 2.0.

    People are underestimating who nasty ass the Bruins play. And it’s not goon hockey either. They have a handful of guys with actual talent who will take runs on guys all night. Bollig can serve to help discourage that sort on stuff.

    We have seen nothing like the triumvirate of Krejci, Marchand and Lucic all on one team.

  33. If Q starts Game #1 with those practice lines, and with having home ice last change, it will be interesting to see the matchups that Q wants. The d-pairing matchups are probably a little easier to guess, I’m thinking 2-7 on the Krejci-Horton-Lucic line and 4-27 on the Bergeron-Marchand-Jagr line. As to the forward line matchups, Q has 3 pretty solid defensive lines he can use, 10-19-81, 20-36-65, and 52-16-67. I’m thinking he tries to defend the Krejci line with the Toews line and the Bergeron line with the Bolland line.

    This is exciting.

  34. We have seen nothing like the triumvirate of Krejci, Marchand and Lucic all on one team.

    Rufus I respectively disagree, I think Zetterberg, Frazen and Justin Abdelkader are a good cover band for that Boston trio

    I continue to be amused how, invinceable the Bruins are(according to some experts and most people on the East coast), I really feel like if the Hawks can punch them in the face(not literally but through their play) In game 1 that will go a LONG way!

  35. ER- Yes it will be interesting to see who covers that 2nd line… I think it might be better to put Handzus line on them… Zus – is big body- equally as slow as Jagr at their respective ages… and He might want to expose Jagr’s slow (I don’t want to play D) body w/ Kane/Bickell

  36. The Hawks underdogs? Really. We have been the best team all year. Set regular season records. Have taken care of business in the playoffs including ousting the defending champions. We have Jennings worthy goaltending, Playoff record PK and Cup winning experience. Yet everytime I see a talking head on tv, its…”Bruins will win because…”

    Boston is the flavor of the week, nothing more. Are they good? Sure. Better than we are? No way. All we need is CC to be himself and play like we have the last10 games. Our speed, and hounding of the puck will be plenty to have Bostons head spinning. We will have no problem getting a road win, maybe 2 and that will be the difference. We’ve done it all season, no reason to stop 4 short

  37. I wanted to give credit to Stu Hackel for giving me the nugget that made me smile from ear to ear. I stop 2nd guessing myself for thinking these Bruins might be closer to frauds then invinceable

    So I’ll ask the Question to the site what makes the Hawks the Hawks? Incrediable offense? Team Speed? A Deep defensive core?,…..all quality parts of a contending team but for this Hockey fan and DIEHARD Hawks fans its “TAKEAWAYS!!!”

    so that nugget,….One interesting tidbit that emerged from the three previous rounds is that league stats show Chicago leads the playoffs in takeaways and the Bruins lead the playoffs in giveaways.

    The Bruins lead the playoffs in GIVEWAYS!!! Boston we have a problem, well atleast the Bruins do in my opinion. Lack of speed and give aways? Hmmmm Go Hawks!

    Read More:

  38. Great reading as usual. No reason for redundancy here.

    I am not taking anything away from Da beaners, but the Hawks are the better team.

    We win on home ice this time. REDDSTEEL in 5.

  39. Rufus- I’m a fan of you, I’ll have you know. But speed wins in all sports for a reason. Defenses HAVE TO RESPECT SPEED. You don’t let a speed receiver beat you over the top in football. You don’t let a fast baserunner go first to third without a ball in play. You can not be aggressive as a D man if 25 is on the ice and can blitz past you on a puck chipped over your glove. Speed matters and having that threat is important. I like Bollig, but NO ONE IS AFRAID OF HIM. He plays hockey ok, but he doesn’t do anything on the + side of the average.

    Most importantly the Hawks are not underdogs. They are favored by VEGAS therefore they are the favorites.

    Wall- Stat I saw was 204 Hawks, 203 Bruins. Lineups may have changed since these numbers were taken. Didn’t care enough to research because I don’t think it matters.

  40. JS- for the weights- I used all of the players that will be in line-up/ excluding Goalies… 25/ not 52…

    the avg. weight using the 12 forwards/ 6 d-men ( “line-up” guys) B’s 206 to Hawk’s 201 lbs.- (using Boston/Blackhawks sites)

    totally agree on 25- his speed can help tire out the D- and extend the O- zone time + he is more likely to actually score vs. 52’s 6-7 minutes of ice time!

  41. Great posts by everyone. But I am gonna cut an edge here. Post after post deals with how the Hawks need to play “match up” hockey against the Bruins. I think, and hope, for the opposite.

    Q will be the coach on the attack and will play to his team’s strengths while the Bruins play “match up” hockey. I believe the Hawks will play this way until they are down by 2 goals……if that happens. I do not think Boston taking a 1 goal lead at anytime during a game will change Qs aggressiveness. If the Hawks score 1st, Q can be aggressive all night.

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