Stanley Cup Finals
Bruins in 6
Look on the ice and you can imagine, Bobby Hull against Bobby Orr and Stan Mikita shooting one off Gerry Cheevers scar marked mask, while Tony Esposito makes a big pad save robbing his brother Phil of a breakaway goal. It’s old time hockey at its best as two Original Six teams meet in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1979. The names that will be on the ice this year may even one day match those stars of the past as Jonathan Toews faces Zdeno Chara, while Patrick Kane will shoot against Tuukka Rask, hoping Corey Crawford can stop Patrice Bergeron from that big breakaway goal.
Both teams have sipped from hockey’s grand silver chalice in the last four years, with the Blackhawks winning in 2010 and the Bruins in 2011. Ironically both teams come to the finals with different goalies as Corey Crawford has answered the critics by outplaying Jonathan Quick, while Tuukka Rask is quickly establishing himself as one of the best net minders with his dominant performance against the high powered Penguins offense.
Both teams also have star defensemen who have won the Norris Trophy, with the Blackhawks Duncan Keith being one of the best two way defensemen often being the setup man on the power play. Meanwhile, the Bruins Zedno Chara is perhaps the most intimidating player in the NHL, as the 6’10” blue liner from Slovaka turned the Eastern Conference Finals into Sidney Crosby’s worst nightmare. Two years ago Chara completely shut down the Sedin Twins when the Bruins beat Canucks in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. If Chara can do the same to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane there will be another celebration in Beantown. To prevent that from happening, the President Trophy Champion Blackhawks will need big efforts from Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa.
With these two stellar defenses, goals could be hard to come by so the special teams will be a big key to winning the series. The team that best takes advantage of the power play likely will win the series. The Bruins set up well on the power play with Patrice Bergeron becoming the premiere two way player in the NHL as he will likely take home his second straight Selke during the NHL awards later this month. Bergeron is also a good candidate to win the Conn Smythe as he scored some of the biggest goals during the Bruins playoff run. The Bruins have been deeper, in their offense getting big plays from all four lines, as Rookie Torey Krug has provided an unexpected spark, while David Krejci and Brad Marchand have been strong all postseason. The one big concern in Boston is the loss of Gregory Campbell who has been one of the Bruins best penalty killers.
In the end the Bruins offense deeper, their defense has been strong and Tuukka Rask has been like brick wall. The Bruins will take the Stanley Cup in six games, with Rask taking the Conn Smythe Award.