Monday, June 24, 2013

Advantage Chicago, as speed gives Hawks the series lead

Speed once again served the Black Hawks, as Chicago skated their way to a 3 game to 2 lead over the Boston Bruins in their best of seven Stanley Cup Final, a series that now is a Best of three showdown, with the Hawks taking the advantage one game in.

Chicago once again turned to a fast paced approach to knock the Bruins off their game for two of the three periods of game number five, the magic formula that seems to be serving head coach Joel Quenneville quite well of late.

The Hawks beat the Bruins to the puck more often than naught over the first forty minutes of play, whether it was on the boards, in the neutral zone or deep in an end of the rink, the Hawks were faster to the play, which translated into many scoring opportunities, with only Tuuka Rask between the Bruins and an avalanche of Blackhawk scoring.

As the game moved along, it appeared that we were in store for a Patrick Kane showcase, the Hawks Right Winger seemed to have the puck attached by string, always on his stick when it wasn't heading for the Bruins net, finding success twice before the third period was underway.

In their own end, the Hawks Corey Crawford exorcised whatever demons had invaded his catching hand in game four, turning aside the Bruins infrequent scoring attempts of the first two periods, though things got interesting for both teams in the third when the Bruins finally created a twenty minute offensive charge that threatened to ruin the party that the Hawks' fans were enjoying.

Part of that third period push came from an increase in the Bruins physical play of the late second period, in particular a questionable hit, still being debated into Monday as to whether Glen Boychuk's hit on Hawks Captain Joathan Toews was a dirty play intent on injury.

For most (at least those in Chicago) the Boychuk hit was something that more along the lines of the dirty over the clean and another example of the style of play that some say the Bruins have built a reputation on. For the NHL however, it's game on, no additional discipline is anticipated from that hit.

Whatever the intent, to knock Toews out of the slot, or worse knock him out of the game; the latter was the eventual result. The Hawks captain relegated to bench duty, the occasional "give me one shift" ignored by the coach. Who did not give his captain any ice time in the third, leading to thoughts of concussion or other injury as the final result from the Boychuk hit.

With Toews out of the line up for the third, the Bruins found some more workable lineup combinations to try to exploit, with some success, fostering a comeback attempt early in the third on a Zdeno Chara goal.

For a fair part of the third period it appeared that the comeback was going to be a success, the Bruins adding to the pressure of the Hawks, Crawford standing his ground to shut down the Bruins attack.

The win was secured for good with an empty net goal by Dave Bolland, one which the Bruins clearly disagreed with.  A play on the Hawk's blue line, saw the Bruins defenders tied up with Chicago players, where a collision left Bolland streaking down the ice towards the empty net to put a wrap on the game.

As the teams head into tonight's Game Six, the only question it seems is which players fill out the line up sheet, with Toews still listed as day to day and the Bruin's Patrice Bergeron released from hospital on Saturday for the trip home his status for Monday still unknown, two key players who may not be on the ice when the puck drops.

Chicago Tribune-- Mr. June makes Bruins swoon
Chicago Sun Times-- One More! Blackhawks on cusp of winning Stanley Cup after 3-1 Game 5 win
Chicago Daily Herald-- Blackhawks on mission to finish Bruins
Boston Globe-- Bruins looking to stay alive in last home game
Boston Herald-- Bruins up against it as 'Hawks one win from Cup'
NESN-- Bruins pushed to brink with Game 5 loss, but say Blackhawks 'won't push us away that easily'
USA Today-- Blackhawks top Bruins amid big injuries
National Post-- Bruins radar having trouble finding Blackhawks
Globe and Mail-- Kane leads Hawks past Bruins and to within one win of Stanley Cup

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