Did you ever think you would see the day where the final four teams left standing would be the reigning Cup Champions from the previous four years? Did you ever think the Boston Bruins would sweep the best team in the East and contain them to only two goals? Did you ever think that the Chicago Blackhawks would beat the LA Kings without going to Game 7? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re lying. No one could have predicted ANY of those outcomes. Why? Because it’s the playoffs, because it’s the Cup and this crazy kind of stuff happens.
The Bruins now embark on the first Original Six meeting for the Stanley Cup Final since 1979 against a team that they haven’t faced since October 15, 2011 where they needed to have a shootout for the final decision, one that went in the Bruins favor thanks to Tyler Seguin. While there may not be any overlapping story lines regarding fallout trades or prior Stanley Cup Champions with the skate on the other foot, there are some fun facts with this series.
Friend or Foe?
For instance, during the lockout both Tyler Seguin and Patrick Kane played over in the Swiss Elite League for EHC Biel where they tore up the scene. Seguin, through 29 games was able to post 25 goals and 15 assists, while Kane registered 13 goals and 10 assists in 20 games. The two paired together are a force to be reckoned with, but now that they are on opposite sides of the ice, who has the advantage?
Seguin had a good season with the Bruins, he scored 13 goals and added 13 assists for 25 points in 48 games. The most impressive stat was Seguin’s +23 which ranked him 8th in league with teammate Brad Marchand.
While Seguin’s return to the NHL was “good”, Kane’s performance was sensational. In 47 games, he scored 23 goals to go along with 32 assists for 55 points. He finished fifth in the NHL in scoring.
However, as the playoffs have hit, both have been under-performing. The biggest highlight out of the two players combined is Patrick Kane’s hat trick he netted last night in leading his team to a 4-3 double OT victory.
Between the Pipes:
Who is the better goaltender, Tuukka Rask or Corey Crawford? Prior to heading into the postseason both netminders were under the proverbial microscope and would be judged based on their performances now more than ever. However, both have risen to the occasion, coming up big when they’ve needed to and keeping their respective teams in the running for the big prize.
Crawford has answered all of the critics who didn’t think he was ready or capable of carrying his team, serving as the league’s best goaltender in the postseason with a 1.74 goals against average, a mere .01 better than his opponent Tuukka Rask.
The main question surrounding Rask heading into the postseason was whether or not he could handle the full load that goes along with being a starting goaltender in the unexpected absence of Tim Thomas. However, those critics have since been silenced after he posted 158 saves against the Pittsburgh Penguins from 160 shots and shut them out twice in the series sweep.
- Both teams have been killer when it comes to penalty kill (see what I did there?). In fact the ‘Hawks currently hold the best record standing at 94.8% while the Bruins sit ate 86.5% after blanking the Penguins 0-for-15 in their last series. The question for the Finals-will ANYONE score a powerplay goal?
- The Bruins are 5-1-1 on the road in the playoffs, scoring at a wicked good 3.43 goals per game and allowing just 1.86.(via Puckdaddy)
- The Blackhawks are 9-1-0 at home in the postseason, with 3.30 goals per game average and allowing 1.70 goals against per game. (via PuckDaddy)
The series between Chicago and Boston is set to begin Wednesday, June 12 in Chicago. Own the moment, because it’s the Cup.