The Stanley Cup Finals continue tonight as the Boston Bruins take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Tonight's game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on NBC. Currently the odds for the game have the Blackhawks favored to win and take a series lead.
Chicago was able to even this series in Game 4 with a 6-5 win over the Bruins. The previous three games had just 12 goals scored combined by the two teams but the 11 goals scored during the last game surely was fun to watch. It was the third of the four games in the finals to reach an overtime session and heading into tonight's matchup we have a pivotal contest. If Boston is able to pick up a win tonight it would be huge for the momentum in the series as they are heading back to Beantown for Game 6, which would be a potential close-out game for the Bruins.
But that's looking a bit early in the future. In our Game 4 preview we talked about Chicago forwards Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane having to play a lot better for the Blackhawks to hang around in this series. What probably helped them was Joe Quenneville putting captain Jonathan Toews back on the same line with Kane. Both played very well in Game 4 and will look to continue to put pressure on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask tonight. Rask, despite allowing five goals in the Game 4 loss, has played exceptionally well in the series as a whole.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford has been playing well, too. He played just well enough in Game 4, allowing only five goals to be scored as his team was able to hang on for the win. He's going to have to come up big tonight to keep Boston from picking up a road win. The Bruins are arguably the best team in hockey at crashing the net and sending guys toward the opposing goalie to mess them up.
Boston has shaken some things up as well, putting Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin together on the same line. The youngsters have been very impressive on the ice at the same time and should be pressure-packed again tonight. Boston has made it to the playoffs in each of coach Claude Julien's six seasons in charge, and two more victories would make it two Stanley Cup titles in three seasons.
Tonight, the team that applies the most pressure on the opposing goal tender and wins faceoffs will win the game. Look for Boston to not back down in this one and continue to make Crawford work for each and every save. We like the Blackhawks to get it done, however, at home. This is a pivotal game, yes, but it's hard not to back the home team, especially Chicago. But then again, each team has already won on the other's home ice, so maybe home ice doesn't mean a whole lot. But Chicago is the play for us.
Free Pick: Chicago 4, Boston 3
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