For the first time since 2004, the Stanley Cup Final is tied 1-1 after two games, and the Boston Bruins will return to home ice with a chance to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Bruins should have won Game 1, and the Chicago Blackhawks should have won Game 2, so it seems that all is right in the world with the series currently tied at one game apiece. Thus far, four overtime periods have been played, and the series has featured a ton of intense action that should continue as the series shifts to TD Garden in Boston.
The Bruins made history with an overtime victory, and they hope to make more history as the series continues.
Time: Monday, June 17 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Series: Tied at 1-1
Key Storyline: Tuukka Rask vs. Corey Crawford
The main storyline thus far has been the play of each starting goaltender. Game 1 featured each netminder giving up a few bad goals, and ultimately, it took a double deflection in triple overtime for the game to end.
Game 2 was another contest that required overtime before a winner emerged, and it is a testament to how each goaltender has played thus far.
Crawford and Rask have each allowed five goals in two games, and each has made incredible saves at key moments. Entering this series each goalie had incredible personal statistics, and if each continues to shine in the playoffs, they may cement their legacy as a clutch playoff goaltender.
Heading into the series, Rask was the clear favorite as the better goaltender, but Crawford has played well enough to challenge him for the top spot.
Key Matchup: Bruins' Third Line vs. Blackhawks' Third Line
Claude Julien made some tweaks to his third line that ultimately helped the Bruins win Game 2. The Bruins' third line of Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin featured speed, offensive prowess and energy.
The line was better than your traditional third-line checking unit, and injecting a player like Paille made the ultimate difference.
In Game 3, the Bruins will have the last change, and Julien will likely use this line to apply pressure. The Bruins' top two lines have looked good thus far, but having a third line like this to go against the Blackhawks will benefit them at home.
The Blackhawks will look to have some of their bottom-six forwards like Brandon Saad, Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik step up in Game 3, and they need to keep up with a new and improved Bruins third line.
There is a chance that Joel Quenneville may re-load his top lines, and if that is the case, the Bruins' bottom six will look to dominate against the Blackhawks.
Injury Report (via TSN)
Gregory Campbell out for remainder of playoffs with broken leg.
Bruins' Projected Lineup
Line 1: Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Jaromir Jagr
Line 2: Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Nathan Horton
Line 3: Daniel Paille, Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly
Line 4: Rich Peverley, Kaspars Daugavins, Shawn Thornton
Line 1: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg
Line 2: Andrew Ference, Johnny Boychuk
Line 3: Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid
Blackhawks' Projected Lineup
Line 1: Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane
Line 2: Patrick Sharp, Michal Handzus, Marian Hossa
Line 3: Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Michael Frolik
Line 4: Andrew Shaw, Dave Bolland, Viktor Stalberg
Line 1: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook
Line 2: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya
Line 3: Michal Rozsival, Nick Leddy
Blackhawks Will Win If...
The Chicago Blackhawks will bounce back with a win in Game 3 if their top stars step up. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews haven't had a ton of success thus far in the series, and the Blackhawks won't win if they don't produce.
Greg Brady of Sportsnet summed it up best with this tweet on how Toews has flown under the radar of criticism.
While having Bryan Bickell produce is nice, he can't be looked upon to lead the team. Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa have played well, but the Blackhawks need more out of their top guns like Toews and Kane.
For most of the playoffs, the Blackhawks have found ways to win while their top players were silent, but it is now crunch time for Toews and Kane.
Bruins Will Win If...
The Bruins take a 2-1 lead in Game 3 if they can capitalize on last change. As the home team, the Bruins set their lines last, and this is very important late in the game. If the Bruins can capitalize on the matchups they control with last change, they will generate scoring chances and win the game.
Thus far, the Bruins have been the better team on matchups, and having a home-ice advantage will only hurt Joel Quenneville as he attempts to get Jonathan Toews going. Playing at home will allow Claude Julien use of Patrice Bergeron in key situations, and that should limit Toews' effectiveness as well.
The Bruins have played well at home, and they will look to take a 2-1 stranglehold on the series.
Prediction: Boston Bruins 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2
The Bruins are dominating line matchups thus far, and having a home-ice advantage gives them a huge edge over the Blackhawks. Tuukka Rask looked very sharp in Game 2, and having him at the top of his game is a great sign for the Bruins.
Look for the Blackhawks to put up a huge fight as they attempt to rebound from Saturday's loss, but the Bruins will emerge victorious when the final buzzer sounds.
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