Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals takes place tonight with the Boston Bruins traveling to the Chicago Blackhawks. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on NBC. The Blackhawks are currently favored to win the game, the oddsmakers say, by a pretty comfortable margin.
Both of these teams have Stanley Cup Finals experience, picking up NHL's best prize in recent seasons. Now the Blackhawks will look to knock off their fellow Original Six member in the final grouping of the season. Chicago was the best team in the league during the regular season and were able to survive being down 3-1 to their arch rival Detroit Red Wings in the second round before taking out the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
Boston comes into this series playing better than anybody in the playoffs. Considering they're are only two teams left that might not be saying much, but the Bruins took the Pittsburgh Penguins behind the woodshed in the Eastern Conference Finals, not allowing either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to register a point in that series.
Corey Crawford has played well in net for Chicago in this post season. He's saved better than 93 percent of the shots he's faced in this post season and has a goals against average of just 1.74 while winning 12 of the team's 17 games this playoffs. Certainly has helped Chicago get this far, but they still have envisions of taking out the Bruins in the finals. Tuukka Rask has almost identical numbers for the Bruins in between the pipes. Rask has saved more than 94 percent of the shots he has faced while having a 1.75 goals against average with 12 wins as well. The battle of the goalies could determine the winner of Lord Stanley.
David Krejci for Boston and Patrick Sharp for the Blackhawks will look to continue their goal scoring for their respective teams, however. Boston's Patrice Bergeron has already scored some huge goals to this point and Tyler Seguin needs to continue to improve with the team getting to play for the Stanley Cup for the second time in just three seasons. Remember, Bergeron scored the Stanley Cup winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 for the Bruins just 24 months ago.
We like the Bruins to win this one on the road. Chicago was amazing in home games this season, going 18-3-3. Both teams are playing at a very high level right now but we like Boston to go in and steal Game 1 of this series. This has the makings of what should be a seven game series and expect each and every game to be highly contested and more than likely low-scoring.
Free Pick: Bruins 3, Blackhawks 1
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