Wednesday night is not an elimination night for the Chicago Blackhawks, but it’s a must-win scenario. The Boston Bruins took a 2-1 series lead on Monday night following a shutout performance from Tuukka Rask. Now, with things staying in Boston for Game 4, the Blackhawks are looking to even up the series before things shift [...]
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The Boston Bruins shutout the Chicago Blackhawks last night in Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, and it was a dominant performance all the way around. It seemed every Bruins player contributed something positive to the night. Well, actually, not all of them. Unfortunately, lost in a very solid game for Boston was [...]
The Boston Bruins are preparing for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, but in keeping with their general atmosphere of a close-knit, almost family-like team, they’re doing so with a little moral support from the guy who can’t be out on the ice with them. Gregory Campbell, having had surgery on his broken leg, [...]
Who Are the Top Five Conn Smythe Candidates for the Boston Bruins?
The Boston Bruins, who a little over a month ago were about to get knocked out of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round, are now two wins away from bringing home their second championship in three years. It's quite amazing when you think about it.
Even as the Bruins stole a Game 7 stunner against the Toronto Maple Leafs, no one could honestly believe the team would go on this kind of roll from that game on. Not one regulation loss since May 12? Seriously?
It’s true; the team is 11-0-2 since losing Game 6 against Toronto in regulation. How could a team who looked so dead in the water as that game came to a close now be two wins away from completing a dominant run with a Stanley Cup? Even the most biased fan couldn’t have looked at the Game 7 situation with Toronto, down three with ten minutes to go, and thought, “I bet this team will be on the verge of winning a Cup in a month.”
And yet here they are. With last night’s Game 3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, Boston is just a couple of wins from becoming the first dynasty the league has seen in decades.
At just 2-1 this series is far from over, and it's still important to look at Boston’s roster and identify who's gone out of their way to help the team get this far. We all know the captain is the first player to hoist the Stanley Cup, but who on the Bruins would be the playoff MVP if they do indeed win this series?
With this in mind, here are the top five Boston candidates for the Conn Smythe trophy.
5. Nathan Horton
If the Bruins end up winning the Stanley Cup, Horton will have a career players dream about. He would have two Stanley Cups in as many playoff appearances (he missed last postseason with a concussion), and he’s hardly just coming along for the ride.
Horton currently boasts seven goals and 11 assists, which goes well with his astounding +22 in plus/minus. And as we found out last weekend, he’s been gutting it out with a bum shoulder that’s been aching since April.
After a slow regular season, it’s looking more and more like Horton was born to play in the postseason. If this is how he’s going to play any time Boston makes the playoffs, you’re not going to hear many complaints from the Bruins faithful.
4. Zdeno Chara
Again, scoring stats aren’t going to be the reason Chara should be considered a Conn Smythe candidate. But think about this; how many of the star players that have taken the ice against Boston so far have really seen legit success?
Rick Nash, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were all forced to skate against the Bruins’ mountain of a man, and Nash – with only one goal -- is the sole player who can brag. Now it's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane who are seeing Chara in their nightmares. Facts are facts; Chara is brought on the ice to neutralize top scoring threats, and he’s been doing just that.
And you can’t talk about the Bruins’ big man without mentioning the amount of ice time he logs per night. He’s currently averaging 30:05 minutes per game. So if you’re going to try and enjoy some time without Chara blotting out the sun on ice, take it in while you can. He’ll be back to shut you down before you know it.
3. Patrice Bergeron
He may not be leading in any specific stat, but anyone who can honestly claim Bergeron hasn’t made a huge impact on Boston’s postseason hasn’t watched a single minute of it.
Seven goals and six assists, which is a great line in itself, won’t be impressive enough to win a Conn Smythe alone. However, it’s what Bergeron has been doing outside of the box score that should garner him some attention. Fact is Bergeron just does it all for Boston.
He owns the face off dot, he kills penalties, and he shuts down the opponent’s top forwards. And he does all of this along with scoring points. Heck, if Rask were to ever unravel, the team could probably give Bergeron a goalie mask and have him step in to steady the ship. Still painfully underrated, Bergeron is indeed the definition of a perfectly well-rounded player.
2. David Krejci
Unfortunately, Patrick Sharp’s goal in Game 2 was his ninth this postseason, tying him with Krejci atop the league leaders. However, Krejci is still leading the league in overall points with 23. The next highest? Nathan Horton with 18.
While Rask may be the biggest lock, a couple more big games for Krejci could change everything. He was absolutely dominant against both Toronto and Pittsburgh, and his line, with Horton and Milan Lucic, has become one of, if not the best in the league.
Make no mistake, when Krejci is feeling it, the ice can tilt for Boston in a hurry. If there’s anyone who can supplant Rask atop the Conn Smythe leaders, it’s the Bruins’ Czech center.
1. Tuukka Rask
Not too much drama here. He’s has been standing on his head on a nightly basis for the past month, and if you can only identify one man in a Bruins sweater as the reason his team is on the verge of a Stanley Cup, Rask is the Vegas odds favorite.
Three shutouts in seven games complete with an absolute shutdown of the entire Pittsburgh Penguins roster and if you look at all the Chicago goals in this series, how many can you say were the result of a Blackhawks player beating Rask?
Dirty goals, deflections, and lucky bounces are how the Blackhawks have scored the majority of their goals this series. Who knows if this will continue. Chicago is still a frighteningly talented team, but if Boston pulls this out in similar fashion to their past month, you have to believe Rask has a Conn Smythe coming his way.
Yes, it is possible to end Stanley Cup Final games in regulation. It seemed for a while there that it wasn’t, and people jokingly wondered how many overtime periods it would take for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks to put this one to bed, but the Bruins proved that sometimes all it takes is [...]
Hang on a second, games can be won in regulation, too? At least, that’s the feeling you have to get after two straight overtime thrillers. The Boston Bruins decided to let everyone get a little extra rest tonight, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 in regulation. Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals sure wasn’t [...]
2013 Stanley Cup Finals Game 3: Boston Bruins Take Advantage of Marian Hossa’s Injury, Claim 2-1 Series Lead
Nobody knew what to expect from the Boston Bruins heading into the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, but if there’s anything to take away from the first three games of the series–it would be this team belongs right where they are. The Bruins came through big time in Game 3 on Monday [...]
When he played for the New Jersey Devils, forward Jay Pandolfo was a fan favorite. The 38-year-old Massachusetts native was a second round pick of the club in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. It would take him a couple of seasons to crack the lineup on a regular basis after playing college hockey for four [...]
Ask and you shall receive. Just about everybody that watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals knew they were watching a classic. It took a come-from-behind effort for the Chicago Blackhawks to defeat the Boston Bruins and it took three overtimes to do it. Most people were hoping for encore presentation. Well, except for [...]
Well, that was certainly a big game for the Boston Bruins, wasn’t it? The 2-1 overtime win, settled before the day changed this time, was due in large part to the hard work of the bottom six forwards. Don’t worry, it’s okay to refer to guys like Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Rich Peverley as [...]