Stanley Cup Finals Game #4: Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins

2013 Stanley Cup Finals, Game #4
#1 Chicago Blackhawks at #4 Boston Bruins
Bruins lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Bruins -135 / Blackhawks +115
Current Line: Bruins -135 / Blackhawks +115
Opening Total: under 4 1/2 -110 / over 4 1/2 -110
Current Total: over 4 1/2 -140 / under 4 1/2 +120

Chicago is down 2-1 to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston.
Chicago is down 2-1 to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston.

After the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks split two overtime games in Chicago, the Bruins took a 2-1 series lead in game three in Boston. Chicago looks to tie it up at 2-2 while Boston can take a commanding 3-1 series lead. In the second round of the playoffs, Chicago was also down 3-1 to an Original Six rival, the Detroit Red Wings. Chicago obviously came back to win that series but would prefer not to have to do it again against Boston. Both Chicago and Boston have won the Stanley Cup in the last 3 years, the Blackhawks in 2010 and the Bruins in 2011.

In game three, there were some injuries to key players in the pre-game warm-ups. Bruins defenseman and captain Zdeno Chara tripped and fell into Milan Lucic’s skate. He had to have stitches above his right eye, but he would play. Chara would even record an assist later in the game and lead the Bruins in ice time. Chicago right wing Marian Hossa took part in the warm-ups but was a very late scratch with an upper body injury. He is expected to play in game four but is officially listed as day to day.

Neither team would score in the first period. The Bruins killed off two penalties though. Boston has not allowed a power play goal in seven straight playoff games dating back to game one of the sweep against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Bruins’ left wing Daniel Paille scored his fourth goal of the playoffs two minutes into the second on assists from Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. Center Patrice Bergeron scored his seventh goal on the power play with just under six minutes left in the second on assists from Jaromir Jagr and Chara. Neither team would score again in the game. The game was marred by a huge brawl with 12 seconds left in the game that led to 16 combined penalty minutes for both teams. Boston has won 7 straight home games in the playoffs.

Boston goalie Tukka Rask recorded 28 stops an got his third shutout of the playoffs. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford made 33 saves on 35 shots.

Chicago went 0 of 5 on the power play and Boston was 1 for 4. Boston won 40 face-offs and Chicago only won 16. Chicago’s offense was not nearly as potent without Hossa, and the injury seemed to have a deflating effect on the Blackhawks.

Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. In the playoffs the Blackhawks are scoring 2.60 goals per game and allowing 2. Chicago is averaging 34 shots per game and is allowing 30 per game. Chicago has struggled on the power play in the playoffs converting only 7 out of 62 chances or 11.3%. Chicago has only allowed five power play goals in 67 times shorthanded or 92.5%. The Blackhawks have one shorthanded goal in the playoffs. Chicago has won 47.1% of their face-offs. Chicago is averaging 8.9 penalty minutes per game.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford is 13-7 in the playoffs with a 1.73 goals against average. He has a save percentage of .936 and has one shutout. He has allowed 38 goals with 591 shots faced. He was the back-up goalie on the Blackhawks’ Cup run in 2010.

Right wing Marian Hossa has 7 goals and 8 assists.  Center Patrick Sharp has 9 goals and 6 assists. Right wing Patrick Kane has 6 goals and 9 assists. Left wing Brian Bickell has 8 goals and 5 assists. Defenseman Duncan Keith has 2 goals and 9 assists.   Center Michal Handzus has 10 points. Centers Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw have 9 points. Center Michael Frolik has 3 goals and 4 assists. Defenseman Steve Montador is out for the season with a concussion but he hasn’t played since early March. Left wing Daniel Carcillo is questionable with an illness Monday night.

Boston is coached by Claude Julien. The Bruins are averaging 3 goals per game and giving up 1.84 in the playoffs. Boston is averaging 37 shots per game and giving up 34. The Bruins are 9 for 54 on the power play or 16.7%. Boston has allowed 1 short handed goal. The Bruins are 7 for 63 on the penalty kill in the playoffs or 88.9%. The Bruins have one short  handed goal.  The Bruins have won 56.1% of face-offs, which is the best among playoff teams. The Bruins are averaging 10.1 penalty minutes per game.

Goalie Tukka Rask is 14-5 in the playoffs with a 1.64 goals against average. He has allowed 35 goals on 652 shots faced. His save percentage is .946 and he has three shutouts. Rask was on the Bruins’ practice squad during their Cup run in 2011.

Center David Krejci leads the playoffs in points and goals with 23 and 9 respectively.  Right wing Nathan Horton has 7 goals and 11 assists. He injured his shoulder in game one and was questionable for game two. Left wing Milan Lucic has 5 goals and 11 assists. Left wing Brad Marchand has 4 goals and 9 assists.   Defenseman Zdeno Chara has 2 goals and 10 assists.  Center Patrice Bergeron has 7 goals and 6 assists. Rookie defenseman Torey Krug has 4 goals and 2 assists. Veteran right wing Jaomir Jagr has 8 assists. He is playing the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 21 years, a record among the four major sports.  The Bruins need to get more production from talented young center Tyler Seguin who only has a goal and 5 assists in the playoffs. Center Gregory Campbell broke his leg against the Penguins and is out for the season.

Chicago is 4-0 in Wednesday games, 41-13 when the opponent scores 2 goals or less, 8-3 against teams with winning records, and against Eastern Conference teams, 39-15 after the opponent allows 2 goals or less, 49-19 overall, 5-2 against Northeast teams, 20-8 after scoring 2 goals or less, 39-16 after allowing 2 goals or less, 37-17 on one day rest, and 23-11 in road games. The under is 4-1 in this series recently and 5-2 in Boston.

Boston is 5-0 on one day rest, 7-1 overall, 5-1 after allowing 2 goals or less, against Central teams, and after a win, 4-1 in Stanley Cup Final games, and against Western Conference teams, 20-8 after the opponent scores 2 goals or less,  and at home, and 36-15 in Wednesday games. Boston has won 4 of the last 5 against Chicago, and also 4 of the last 5 in Boston in the series.

Keep an eye on whether Hossa plays or not. Chicago has played well from behind in the playoffs. I think they rebound, and tie up the series with game five in Chicago Saturday night.

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