BOSTON BRUINS at CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Chicago -155 & 5 under -145
After a triple-overtime loss to start the series, the Bruins will try to even up the Stanley Cup Finals with the Blackhawks on Saturday night. They could be short-handed though, as star C Nathan Horton’s status for Game 2 is uncertain because of an upper body injury.
Chicago’s Andrew Shaw was the hero in Game 1, as it was his knee that deflected the puck in the back of Boston’s net at 12:08 of the third overtime period. This was the Blackhawks’ third unanswered goal to finally end a game that the Bruins led 3-1 with 12 minutes left in regulation. Although Chicago outshot Boston 63-54, several other statistics were nearly even. Both clubs had three power-play opportunities, the Blackhawks had only two more hits (61-59), and the Bruins won just two more faceoffs (58-56). The loss snapped Boston’s five-game win streak, but the B’s are still 9-2 in their past 11 games. Chicago is now 8-1 in its past nine games overall, and 10-1 at home in the playoffs. The Blackhawks are also 21-4 when coming off a one-goal win this season, while the Bruins are 0-6 on the road after a one-goal loss. However, Chicago has to be the more tired team having just played two straight multi-overtime games, and the B’s will be eager for redemption after relinquishing a pair of two-goal leads, a rare mistake for such a strong defensive team.
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask (12-5, 1.78 GAA, .942 Sv Pct. in playoffs) turned away 59 of the 63 shots he faced on Wednesday (.937 Sv Pct), but it wasn’t enough to prevent his team from dropping to a 5-3 playoff record on the road. LW Milan Lucic (5 G, 11 A, +14 rating in playoffs) was the offensive star for Boston with two goals and an assist, while C David Krejci had two assists to increase his NHL playoff-high points to 23 (9 G, 14 A). Krejci’s +15 rating in the postseason ranks second behind teammate RW Nathan Horton (+22 rating), who logged just 22:28 in Game 1 before getting injured. Horton’s potential absence would definitely be felt, considering he has seven goals (T-4th in league) and 18 points (2nd in NHL) in the 2013 playoffs. Other standouts for the Bruins in Game 1 included C Patrice Bergeron (6 G, 6 A, +4 rating in playoffs), who scored a power-play goal, blocked five shots and won 66% of his faceoffs (27-of-41). D Dennis Seidenberg blocked a game-high nine shots and delivered seven hits during his team-high 48:36 of ice time, while D Andrew Ference led the game with 10 hits, and added eight blocks during his eye-popping 56 shifts (45:19 ice time).
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (13-5, 1.73 GAA, .936 Sv Pct. in playoffs) had a memorable Stanley Cup Finals debut, saving 51-of-54 shots (.944 Sv Pct) in Game 1, including all 29 shots he saw after regulation. His blue-liners really helped, especially D Duncan Keith (game-high 48:40 ice time) and D Johnny Oduya (team-best seven blocked shots, game-tying goal in third period). Offensively, it wasn’t the usual suspects that got the team in the win column. RW Marian Hossa (7 G, 8 A, +8 rating in playoffs), C Patrick Sharp (8 G, 6 A, +3 rating in playoffs) and RW Patrick Kane (6 G, 8 A, +3 rating in playoffs) were all tied for the team lead with 14 points during these playoffs entering Game 1. But Hossa was the only one in the trio to record a point on Wednesday, assisting on Brandon Saad’s second-period goal that cut Boston’s lead to 2-1. C Andrew Shaw not only tallied the game-winner, but he also assisted on Dave Bolland’s third-period tally. Bolland joined Shaw as the only Blackhawks with multiple points when his deflection of Michal Rozsival’s shot hit Shaw’s knee for the game-winner. Shaw and LWs Bryan Bickell and Brandon Bolling each had a team-high-tying nine hits in Game 1.