The first two games of this series turned out to be epic showdowns.
Game 1 ended with a hat trick by #88 Patrick Kane, but that adventure wouldn’t come to an end until almost three full overtime periods. Throughout the entire game, both teams were offensively charged. Both were making plays and getting good quality scoring chances. At the end of the night, it ultimately came down to a battle of the goaltenders.
Fortunately for the Hawks, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was the first to flinch that night.
Game 2 looked like it was going to be much of the same. The Hawks came out hard and fast in the first period on Saturday. They outshot the Bruins 19-4 in the first period with a goal by Patrick Sharp a little over halfway through the period. However, it all seemed to go downhill from there. While they were able to hold off the Bruins during regulation, lack of puck possession and a decrease in drive lead the Hawks to their first loss of the series in overtime.
Now, we are just hours away from Game 3 in Boston. The outcome of tonight’s game is going to sit squarely on which Blackhawks team we see in tonight’s faceoff.
If we see the Blackhawks team that we say in Game 1 that was making good scoring opportunities, handling the puck properly, and controlling the pace of the game, then I think we’ll see the Hawks come out on top. However, if we see the Hawks team that we saw in the second and third period of Game 2, then the Bruins will more than likely be the ones in control of the pace, and ultimately the game.
Both teams have a lot of firepower at their disposal.
For the Hawks, you have players Patrick Sharp, who has put up 9 goals and 6 assists during the post season. You’ve also got Bryan Bickell, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Kane, all of which have put up 5+ goals during their post season run.
On the Bruins bench you have David Krejci who has put up 9 goals and 14 assists during the post season. They also have players like Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, and Milan Lucic who all have 5+ goals as well.
However, the Hawks could have the deciding factor sitting on their bench. Providing they can get the fire going, that is.
In the regular season, the captain, Jonathan Toews, was tied with his “rival” Patrick Kane for the most goals scored on the team with 23. However, in the post season, Toews has fallen flat on the goal scoring front. In the post season, Toews has registered one lone goal, which was in Game 5 against the Detroit Red Wings in the Conference Semifinals.
If Head Coach Joel Quenneville can somehow get the fire within Toews reignited, we may very well see a different type of game tonight.
In the series against Chicago, he has been able to stop 92 of the 97 shots brought against him. On the other side of the ice, Corey Crawford has been able to stop 77 of the 82 shots brought against the Hawks.
Taking into consideration that both teams’ wins were decided by just one goal, I would say that these two men between their respective pipes are on a pretty even keel.
However, if you look at the numbers the Bruins have been outshot by the Hawks 97-82 over the course of the series. Taking that into consideration, Tuukka Rask has had to work just a little harder to keep those pucks out of the net.
From where I am sitting, if the Bruins defense can’t find a way to get in front of those pucks and start blocking some of the onslaught from the Hawks, Rask is going to get very worn out over the course of the remaining series. That will not bode well for Boston.
By no means do I feel like either side has pulled ahead of the other in terms of a clear winner. The remainder of this series is going to depend on each side’s inner fire and will to win.
This series is ultimately going to boil down to who wants it more.
Game 3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals can be seen on NBC Sports at 8:00 p.m. tonight. You can see the remaining schedule; including dates, times, and broadcast location by clicking here.
Which team do you feel has the inner fire to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup home to their fans? What do you think is going to be a deciding factor in this series? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.