2013 Stanley Cup Final Preview: Boston Bruins vs Chicago Blackhawks

USA TODAY Sports

There are no underdogs here, as two Original Six juggernauts have survived a series of tests to meet in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time ever.

The Stats

Boston Bruins Chicago Blackhawks
Record 28-14-6 5th 36-7-5 1st
GF/Game 2.65 13th 3.10 2nd
GA/Game 2.21 3rd 2.02 1st
5-on-5 SF/60 32.5 2nd 30.6 6th
5-on-5 SA/60 28.3 13th 25.2 4th
Fenwick Close 54.35 4th 55.80 2nd
5-on-5 Save % .928 4th .927 8th
5-on-4 GF/60 5.1 21st 4.6 27th
# of PP's/Gm 2.54 30th 3.12 23rd
4-on-5 GA/60 4.3 3rd 4.7 4th
# of PK's/Gm 3.40 17th 2.94 4th

These are two high-powered teams, which validate the relevance of fancy stats like Fenwick Close in the evaluation of team talent. As we've noted before, if there's a vulnerability to the Bruins it lies in their propensity to take more penalties than their opponents, but their penalty killing has lived up to that challenge. Surprisingly, for all their talent up front, the Blackhawks have fielded a mediocre power play, so this portion of the matchup may not play a large role.

The SB Nation Blogs

Stanley Cup of Chowder vs Second City Hockey

Boston Bruins

The Bruins have simply dominated during these playoffs since falling behind 3-1 during the third period of Game 7 in the first round vs. Toronto. They pulled off a miraculous comeback to take that series, and followed up with a five-game defeat of the New York Rangers, and a stunning sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team which had loaded up specifically for a Stanley Cup run.

The goaltending, as you can expect, has been spectacular for Boston so far, and Tuukka Rask stands as a strong Conn Smythe Trophy candidate should the Bruins close the deal. Leading the scoring charge up front is David Krejci:


David Krejci

#46 / Center / Boston Bruins

6-0

188

Apr 28, 1986



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
Playoffs 16 9 12 21 +14 10 1 0 2 42 21.4

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks have faced their tests as well, as Detroit took them to Game 7 in the Conference Semifinals after Chicago dismissed Minnesota in five games during the first round. Following a Game 5 double-overtime elimination of the defending champion Los Angeles Kings, the Hawks enter the Cup Final riding a wave of confidence as all of their "big guns" are contributing to the cause.

The Cinderella at this ball is Bryan Bickell, an oversized late bloomer who is drawing raves for a breakout performance this season. As he heads to unrestricted free agency this summer all the hockey world is wondering whether this performance is a fluke, or whether indeed a new prime-time power forward has emerged on the NHL scene:


Bryan Bickell

#29 / Left Wing / Chicago Blackhawks

6-4

233

Mar 09, 1986



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
Playoffs 17 8 5 13 +6 12 1 0 2 35 22.9

OTF Staff Picks

Picks Winner Comment
Dirk Boston As much as it pains me to see Jeremy Jacobs (a chief architect of last fall's lockout) win another Stanley Cup, the Bruins look like the proverbial immovable object these days.
Caroline Boston It's no secret that I hope Chicago dies in a fire (no pun intended), but that isn't the only reason I'm picking Boston. The Hawks are great, but they don't have quite the same depth and flexibility as Boston, who utilizes their forwards and defensemen as both defensemen and forwards, on a seeming as-needed basis. Because of this, they are almost impenetrable when they are On. Chicago's players are certainly flexible (Toews, Keith), but not at the same level. Boston is also coming out of a sweep of what many people (myself included) felt was the best offensive team in the league. You don't just sweep Crosby, Malkin, Iginla, Morrow, Neal, Letang, etc. without serious ability, skill, focus, and teamwork. That, plus the insane win over Toronto and the quick win over the Rangers, has undoubtedly boosted the Bruins' confidence, and they know how to control that confidence and use it productively. Chicago has done extremely well this year, but I think Boston has edge in this series. I seriously hope they do, at least...
Jonathan Chicago I underestimated both teams last round, and they made me look like a fool. While secondary scoring has pretty much taken the Hawks to the SCF, the Bruins can shut down the best players and Chicago absolutely needs them to perform if they are going to win. Google Kane/hat trick for proof. The big question is: are the Bruins as good as they looked in the sweep? How much was the Penguins imploding on themselves vs. a dominant Boston team? Arguments can be made either way. What can't be argued is the competition in the West has been tougher than in the East this year. That's why the Hawks scourge has been so impressive, and why they are going to bring the Cup back to the Windy City after 7 games.
George Boston The Blackhawks struggled against the Red Wings, and rebounded against the Kings. Did I mention the Bruins swept the Penguins after struggling with the Maple Leafs? This one is too close to call, but in the end I think Boston is the more complete, more physical team. Bs in 7.
Jason Boston Ugh. I only "hope" Boston wins because I encounter far fewer of their fans, so a Boston win will be the least harmful to me personally.

Boston Bruins vs Chicago Blackhawks TV Schedule

Date Time (CTL) Location TV
Wednesday, June 12 7:00 p.m. Chicago NBC, CBC, RDS
Saturday, June 15 7:00 p.m. Chicago NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
Monday, June 17 7:00 p.m. Boston NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, June 19 7:00 p.m. Boston NBC, CBC, RDS
Saturday, June 22 7:00 p.m. Chicago NBC, CBC, RDS
Monday, June 24 7:00 p.m. Boston NBC, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, June 26 7:00 p.m. Chicago NBC, CBC, RDS

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