Hockey players are creatures of habit, and so far in this Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have been no different.
Teams have trends or consistent patterns to their approach. Here are a few to watch for in Game 2.
Joel Quenneville likes to switch up his lines mid-game in order to provide a spark for his offense. Jonathan Toews has scored just one goal in 18 games these playoffs, so you’ll often see him placed on a line with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa in order apply pressure on the opposing defense.
Chicago’s power play has sunk to an abysmal 13 percent (7-for-67) over their playoff run. Quenneville has shifted his lineup, separating Toews and Patrick Kane in order to spread the wealth. While Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook remain together on the first unit, Patrick Sharp was moved to the point alongside Nick Leddy on the second.
Corey Crawford is guilty of allowing an abundance of second-chance opportunities. He struggles to absorb the puck on initial shots, creating extra scoring chances for Boston’s forwards. After only amassing 25 shots in regulation, the Bruins fired 29 shots on Crawford in the 52:08 of overtime play.
Boston’s third defensive pairing of Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug combined for a mere 41:42 seconds of ice time in Game 1. Each of Boston’s other four D-men averaged more than 44 minutes of ice time. Krug and McQuaid also combined for a minus-four and just three shots on goal.
Boston went 1-for-3 with the man advantage and scored with a unit utilizing four forwards. Jaromir Jagr played the point with Zdeno Chara, while Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic played up front. The Bruins will provide multiple looks in order to shake up Chicago’s dominant penalty kill.
When Nathan Horton left Game 1 in the first overtime with an upper-body injury, Tyler Seguin filled in on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci. With Horton labeled as a game-time decision, Seguin will be the guy to fill the void in Game 2. Seguin has just five points in 17 playoff games, but he tallied an assist in Game 1.
Both teams played well enough to win the series opener, only Chicago got the bounce when it needed it to secure the victory. Game 2 is shaping up to be more of the same, with the aforementioned wrinkles thrown in to make things interesting.
Puck drop for Game 2 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET from the United Center in Chicago.