The key word that you’re going to hear throughout this article is ‘earn’. The Chicago Blackhawks earned their Game 1 win over the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins may have controlled stretches of the triple overtime affair, but this was a game overall that the Blackhawks absolutely deserved to win.
For one, they matched the physicality of the Bruins. While that whole toughness aspect is something that a lot of people lean to heavily on as an explanation for why a team won or lost, the Hawks used the body up and down the lineup. Many expected that they wouldn’t be able to hang with the much more physical Bruins team. Not the case.
The Hawks stuck it to the Bruins, actually taking the edge in the hits department, albeit by a slim margin. The hit parade was led by Andrew Shaw, who scored the game winner, Bryan Bickell, and Brandon Bollig, who all finished tied with nine hits on the night. Again, it’s not a stat to be relied on for much of anything, but definitely shows that the Hawks can hang with Boston, contrary to many beliefs heading into these Finals.
When you look at the advanced stats, meaning Corsi & Fenwick, it’s not even a question as to which team should have won. The possession numbers were straight dominated by the Blackhawks. In fact, there was only line that finished in the negative for both Corsi and Fenwick: the line that was on the ice for the game winner of Shaw, Bickell, and Dave Bolland.
Consider the fact that the highly criticized Jonathan Toews was a plus-31 in Corsi on the night. Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa, his linemates for most of the night, finished plus-28 and plus-20, respectively. Looking at the top defensive pairing for Boston, Zdeno Chara was a minus-25, while Dennis Seidenberg sat at minus-31.
The shots on the night were relatively close. The Blackhawks outshot the Bruins by a 63 to 54 count. Looking at the shots that were actually attempted, however, it’s not even close. Just in regulation, the attempted shots were 78 for the Hawks, to only 40 for the Bruins. For the game, Chicago attempted 123, to just 85 for Boston.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that every game is going to go like this, as far as the possession numbers are concerned. Another triple overtime game isn’t entirely out of the question. But those advanced stats show that the Hawks absolutely deserved to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.