The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are set to square off in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night, with the two teams bringing rosters to the table that could give us a matchup for the ages. Both of these squads are extremely talented on paper, bringing a combination of notoriety and depth to the equation.
One question facing the Bruins is how they plan to stop the top line of the Chicago Blackhawks. While the Hawks have relied a lot on their depth for scoring throughout these playoffs, the top line has caught fire recently, thanks to the addition of Patrick Kane to the mix. Playing next to Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell has opened each of them up, helping to lead to Kane’s hat trick in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
The matchups in this series are obviously going to be key, with these teams looking so even on paper. We already have a pretty good idea of how the Bruins plan to counter the top line of the Hawks. And it begins with one of the best two-way players in the game, Patrice Bergeron.
It appears as though the Stanley Cup Finals will begin with the Bergeron line, which includes Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr against the Toews line. This is going to be a fascinating matchup to watch, on a couple of different levels.
First of all, you have two of the best two-way centers in the game going head to head, in Bergeron and Toews. While Toews may have the edge in takeaways and plus/minus, Bergeron is the best faceoff man in the game, which is going to make a world of difference. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear much from either of these two on the stat sheet during this series.
You have a couple of trios that are really finding their games recently. Jagr has found chemistry next to Bergeron and Marchand. Marchand has been particularly excellent throughout these Stanley Cup Playoffs, not unlike Bryan Bickell, who is tied for the team playoff lead in goals.
This is going to be a blast of a matchup to watch during these Finals. It’ll be tough for either of these lines to break out against the other, but if one of them gains an edge, it’ll go a long way towards determining who hoists the Stanley Cup.