Bruins’ Resiliency Among Keys Versus Blackhawks Heading In To Game One
The Boston Bruins certainly deserve to be in the Stanley Cup Finals. Just don’t ask the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was Toronto that had the Bruins on the ropes in game seven of their Eastern Conference first-round series, leading 4-1 with less than 12 minutes to play in regulation. However, Boston battled back with three late goals to tie it and force overtime, where Patrice Bergeron ended it. Bergeron would strike again two rounds later against the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win that clinched a four-game online sports betting sweep for the Bruins. Now it’s Boston set to take on the Chicago Blackhawks in the first Original Six Stanley Cup match up since 1979.
Stanley Cup Finals – Game 1
Boston Bruins @ Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday June 12, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
NHL Sports Betting Line: Chicago – 170
The Blackhawks have overcome their own obstacles to get to the Finals. Chicago faced a three-games-to-one series deficit in the Western Conference second round before battling back to eliminate the Detroit Red Wings – showing a resiliency that will be needed from a Stanley Cup champion. The Blackhawks are just three years removed from their last Stanley Cup win in 2010, while the Bruins won it the following year in 2011.
NHL Betting Preview: Boston Bruins
Much of the same pieces from that Stanley Cup team still exist, including a couple of absolute beasts up front in Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, who have made life a lot easier on the clubs’ leading scorer David Krejci. The Bruins have attacked their opponents in waves, breaking them down physically and then capitalizing with timely goals. Tuukka Rask has done an admirable job taking over for the departed Tim Thomas with a 1.75 goals against average and .943 save percentage, and has seemed to play better with every passing round. Veteran Jaromir Jagr has seven assists but still hasn’t scored in these playoffs, so he should be due as he shoots for his third Stanley Cup ring, and first since he won with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1992.
NHL Betting Preview: Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks’ core is still relatively intact with Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith among the key contributors, but they have also benefited from the play of breakthrough star Bryan Bickell in the playoffs. Bickell is tied with Sharp for the team-lead with eight goals, and his plus-six rating is second among forwards to only Marian Hossa. Chicago has strong enough depth that it was able to beat the Los Angeles Kings in game four on the road even without Keith, but they will need all hands on deck against a much tougher Bruins’ offense. Corey Crawford has held his own as the Blackhawks’ starter with a 1.74 goals against average and .935 save percentage in these playoffs, but this will be his toughest challenge yet.
NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
Chicago has all of the weapons to deliver with a Stanley Cup this online sports betting season, but there are still concerns about Crawford even with his strong play to this point in the playoffs. The Bruins have more weapons than the Kings had and will come out looking to set the tone both physically and on the score sheet in game one. It won’t take long to find out if the Blackhawks can handle the physicality and relentless pace, and it will be hard to fight back if Chicago goes down early.
NHL Betting Pick: Boston Bruins
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