The Chicago Blackhawks look to hold home ice advantage tonight when they take on the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. 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 as a comfortable favorite.
Game 1 of the finals might as well have counted for two wins. Andrew Shaw scored at the 12:08 mark of the third overtime for the Blackhawks in the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup finals. Both teams looked exhausted in that third and final overtime, having already logged better than 100 minutes on the ice before the third began. Yet, Shaw was able to make the critical play when it counted, deflecting Dave Bolland's tip into the back of the net and beating Tuukka Rask, who had played very well in Game 1.
Now, Boston will look to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole to begin the finals before the series shifts back to their place. Ideally, the Bruins knew winning one of the first two games in Chicago would benefit them greatly. They nearly won the opener, more than once. But they have to be able to move past that and play well tonight. Chicago got a second wind in this finals series when they were able to pick up that 4-3 triple overtime win. We saw it in the Eastern Conference Finals with Pittsburgh — Boston has no problems playing on the road.
Boston's Milan Lucic had two goals and showed why he is one of the best forwards in the game. Yet, the Bruins need to focus quite a bit of their time tonight on the defensive end. Chicago scored three goals in Game 1 but none of those tallies came from Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa or Patrick Kane. The offensive firepower the Blackhawks have is impressive and if they are able to get scores from any of those three guys, Chicago could be in a very good position to win tonight.
While Rask has played exceptional in this post season, Chicago's Corey Crawford has been equally great in net. He made several fantastic saves in Game 1 during the overtime sessions just to give his team a chance to win, which they ultimately cashed in on. Both goalies are playing at a high level, which is good for hockey, but the NHL also wants to see some goals scored in this series. Both offenses bring a lot of potency with the puck and following a 4-3 triple overtime game in the opener, look for this one to be highly competitive with goals scored as well.
It seems only natural to take the Blackhawks in this one because of how good they were at home this season. But you have to love the price with Boston at plus money. They were never out-played in the opener and had just as many, if not more, chances to win. We like them to earn the split and get a win in Chicago tonight.
Free Pick: Boston 3, Chicago 2
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