2013 Stanley Cup Finals Part 1
Original Six Matchup
So far we have been treated to some great hockey in games 1 and 2 in Chicago. Both games have gone to overtime and we head back to Boston with a series tied at 1-1. Game 1 had both teams trade an insane amount of chances in all 3 overtimes before Andrew Shaw finally got the game winner off of his shin pads. Game 2 had the Hawk start off with a great 1st period but only able to get a 1-0 lead entering the 2nd period. As the game went on it seemed like the Hawks started to slow down and the Bruins started to find their legs and eventually were able to get the game winner in the 1st overtime.
Instead of spending alot of time reviewing these 2 games, I will be looking ahead to see what things need to be done for the Chicago Blackhawks to end their season as the 2013 Stanley Cup Champs.
The one thing that the Blackhawks have shown to have that the Bruins do not have on a consistent basis is Speed. Boston is a much bigger and physical team but with those bigger frames comes a disadvantage and that is that the Hawks are faster and if they continue to use their speed and make the Bruins Defensemen chase the Hawks forwards around all game then you will start to see the Bruins wear down as this series goes closer to game 7.
Both teams are going to have their fair share of chances that go back and forth but lucky for these two teams they have goalies that are playing at the top of their games in these playoffs. Speaking of goalies, the Hawks also need to use their speed to get the puck behind Tuuka Rask. Let me explain my theory, The faster that the Hawks come into the zone with puck control the better chance that they can get Rask moving side to side and that makes any goalie have a hard time stopping the puck, It will be much easier for the Bruins netminder to stop pucks even if they are trying to make him move side to side if the Hawks continue to all stand still and pass the puck around the perimeter, especially on the Power Play.
Some of the best PP units almost always have movement and the Hawks seem to have zero movement on the man advantage in these playoffs. If they refuse to change this then the only other way to get the Powerplay going is to limit the passes and get a body or two in front of the net and let shots fly. No goalie can stop what he can not see.
If we are going to use the speed against the Bruins then Brandon Bollig needs to take a seat in the pressbox to allow for Stalberg to re-enter the lineup and use his speed because he is the fastest on the team if not the league.
Stalberg's Speed Creates Chances
Crash And Bang
The Hawks have shown that although they may not be a very physical team normally, they can answer the bell when a team tries to take liberties on them. As we have seen in the first 2 games of the Stanley Cup Finals the Bruins love to be physical and they are usually lead in this category by Milan Lucic. While it is important to not let the Bruins run them out of the building, it is equally as important to not focus to much on this because that is when the Hawks will get off of their game and stop doing what makes them so successful.
Chicago needs to be prepared to see even more hits than it did the first 2 games in Chicago because the Bruins always ramp it up when they are at home. Expect lots of hits from the Bruins and lots of after whistle stuff going on especially from the Boston pest Brad Marchand. He has been a none factor in this area so far but I expect him to pick up his efforts to get under the skin of Hawks players back in Boston.
As I mentioned earlier the Hawks need to let Bollig take a seat in the press box but if Coach Q does not want to let Stalberg into this series for whatever reason then he needs to replace Bollig with a player that is equally physical but maybe more defensively reliable. The candidates for this are Jamal Mayers and Dan Carcillo. Personally if Carcillo can keep his emotions in check then he would be my first choice because he has a better set of hands than Mayers and also is faster than him as well. In all honesty you can not go wrong with either one but as much as I love Bollig, he needs to come out of the lineup.
Steal 1 on The Road
As the title suggests, The Hawks need to go into Boston and do what the Bruins did in Chicago. That is win at least 1 game and take away the home ice from them. This is obviously a huge factor because if they do not then they wil be down 3-1 in the series when they come back in town to Chicago.
As long as the Hawks play like they did in game 1 and the first 20 minutes of game 2 then I think they will be fine and will at least return to the United Center for game 5 tied 2-2 in the series. I hope that you all are enjoying this highly entertaining Stanley Cup Finals as much as fans of these two great teams are. Thank you all for reading and i'll be back after game 3 to talk about the Hawks and some off ice moves that have happened and the ones that may happen after this Finals wrap up.