What can I say about tonight’s match-up? Two original six teams both with histories of fantastic players and teams, the past two Stanley Cup champions. Both teams have young rising stars mixed with grizzled vets and strong leaders. Players like Brad Marchand are beginning to be compared to Dave Bolland. Tyler Seguin is starting off his career in the footsteps of Kane and Toews. Chara leads his team with his play and demeanor, he leads by example much like his Chicago counter part nicknamed Captain Serious.
The teams have some bad blood from their one meeting last year which in a 3-0 Bruins shutout win when Shawn Thornton was cut above his right eye and while leaving the ice, apparently the Blackhawks bench was chirping at him. This lead to a verbal spat between Thornton and the Blackhawks “enforcer” John Scott. I say enforcer because in my humble opinion, Scott never seems to fight to defend his teammates but more as a scripted sideshow. Plus with Scott’s normal ice time averaging between 3-4 minutes a night, he is hardly on the ice to help protect his teammates. So I wouldn’t worry much about what Scott has to say.
The Bruins powerplay has struggled this year and the Blackhawks penalty kill is killing at a 88.9% rate so far. They will have to figure something out to fix their woes which may be difficult against this team.
Bruins’ will have to figure it out without their first line center David Krecji who will miss his second game in a row with a knee injury. Steve Kampfer and Adam McQuaid are also out of tonight’s line-up for the B’s. Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith are out for the Hawks.
Tyler Seguin has starting off the season on the right foot with four points in four games for the Bruins and will look to continue his hot streak tonight in Chicago.
Chara and the Bruins defense will have their hands full against the Hawks with Toews, Kane and Bolland centering the first three lines for the Hawks. The Kane experiment at center worked Thursday night against Winnipeg with a 4-3 win.
Everyone is already clamoring about the Bruins slow start claiming that the “Stanley Cup Hangover” is taking its toll. But it’s still very early and there are positives coming out from the Bruins. The powerplay struggled last year in the playoffs but the Bruins were able to work through that.
Tim Thomas has been solid and Marchand, Seguin and Bergeron are all +/-3 . They need to put together a team effort tonight and can do so but jumping on the Hawks early. The Blackhawks gave up two early goals against the Atlant… I mean Winnipeg Jets on Thursday before realizing the game had started and picked up their play. If the Bruins can jump out early with a couple of quick goals and play solid defense they have a chance against this highly explosive Chicago offense. But they cannot let up and give a breath of life back to the Hawks and the United Center. The Hawks are undefeated this year at home and the fans should be pretty loud tonight.
Again, I will be at the game tonight so check back for a full recap of the game and if are going to the game tonight, let’s meet up for a beer and talk some hockey.