The Chicago Blackhawks were visibly drained after their Game 1 marathon win over the Boston Bruins and it showed int he two straight games they dropped after that. But while we had a series of back-and-forths in the NBA Finals, it’s been a clustered series for the Stanley Cup so far and the Blackhawks continued that trend by taking both Game 4 and Game 5, which was Saturday night in Chicago.
Patrick Kane channeled the scoring magic he had during the regular season with goals in both the first and second period of Game 5. Zdeno Chara was the only Bruin able to get anything past Corey Crawford on Saturday and Chicago has gone from being behind in this series to dragging the Bruins to the brink of elimination.
But it’s being viewed not as Chicago dragging the Bruins to the brink, rather fans are salivating over the fact that their Blackhawks are a game away from hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup over their heads for the second time in four years. If they win it, they’ll again have to win it on road ice if they plan on ending this series in six games, and judging from the way Game 5 went, we might see that.
A massive factor in Game 6 will be the health of forward Patrice Bergeron who had to leave Game 5 during the second intermission for undisclosed reasons. Bergeron was taken from the United Center in an ambulance and did not return to the game in the third period after two sluggish and short periods of play. His absence was very evident at the end of the game for the Bruins who rushed the Balckhawks defense but couldn’t get anything going once they carried the puck into the Blackhawks zone.
The Bruins have made it to the Stanley Cup by being a physical team that got inside their opponents heads with physical and bruising play but they may have gotten inside their own heads in this series. Milan Lucic was seen snapping his stick in half after swinging it like a baseball bat against the goal post after the Blackhawks scored a game clinching empty net goal with mere seconds left and that right there represents how insane the Bruins intensity has become and how potentially detrimental it could be.
Tuukka Rask can’t do it all on his own and that was clear in Game 5. If Boston wants to avoid having Chicago win the Stanley Cup on their home ice, they’ll have to play even harder than they did in Game 5 and so far both teams have looked like they can’t play any harder than they have through five full games of the best Stanley Cup we’ve seen in years.