Before Monday’s game I had written an article previewing Game 4. It listed the keys to success for each team (http://isportsweb.com/2013/06/19/blackhawks-vs-bruins-game-4-preview/). Let’s check out how each team did on their respective checklists, and what they can improve on for the remainder of the series.
- Increase the tempo of the game. Chicago did a good job on using their quickness to get around Boston’s big defensemen. Look for Chicago to make drastic changes to their breakout (which was very poor) before Game 5.
- Stay disciplined. The special teams of Chicago came in clutch in Game 4, scoring their first powerplay goal of the series as well as a shorthanded goal. Aside from that, there are still changes needed to be made in order to stay out of the penalty box for the remainder of the series.
- Beat Tuukka Rask. This won the game for the Blackhawks. In order to beat Rask, they needed to make Rask move by means of rebounds and quick shots off of passes. They succeeded in making Rask move, and because of this they were able to put the puck in the back of the net six times.
For Game 5, expect Chicago to keep up the high tempo, forcing Boston to adapt to that style of hockey. As for Crawford, the Blackhawks left him hanging on a few goals, but he will need a better performance for the remainder of the playoffs in order to win the cup, as well as be considered a top goalie for Team Canada.
- Force the Blackhawks skaters to the outside. The Bruins are going to need to do a better job of keeping the Blackhawks away from the front of the net to avoid close rebounds and screens/tips on shots from the point. A key player for this is Chara. Chara (who had a plus/minus of -3) needs to have a game that reminds the Blackhawks why they should be afraid of him.
- Out-work the Blackhawks. The Bruins still were able to be dominant along the boards of their offensive zone. They were also able to create several turnovers on Chicago’s breakouts out of Chicago’s own zone. They will need to focus on outworking the Blackhawks in their defensive zone better. This includes keeping Chicago players away from the front of the net.
The pressure is now on Boston. As we saw a different Blackhawks team between Game 3 and Game 4, expect a different Bruins team in Game 5 compared to what we saw in Game 4. The game could have been a lot worse for Boston too if it had not been for a few lucky goals on Crawford. The Bruins will need to go back to beating the Blackhawks physically in order to continue to have success for the remainder of this series.
I have the Blackhawks and Bruins each winning their next home games, with Boston’s physical dominance leading them to a Stanley Cup victory in Game 7 on the road over a weakened Blackhawks team.
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