Biggest Questions Facing Chicago Blackhawks After Start of Stanley Cup Final
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The Chicago Blackhawks have played incredibly inconsistent hockey against the Boston Bruins. After losing at home for only the second time in the playoffs, there are questions that the Blackhawks need to answer.
Who will be the better goaltender in this series?
Can the Blackhawks rely on their depth?
It's hard to tell which team will win this Original Six battle.
The following questions have been ranked by their importance for winning the Stanley Cup.
3. Will Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Step Up?
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have struggled to get on the scoresheet this postseason.
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Patrick Kane only has one assist so far against the Boston Bruins.
Jonathan Toews hasn't made it on the scoresheet.
That's a problem. When the team's two biggest offensive talents have a hard time getting involved in the scoring, something isn't working.
This is a question that needs to be answered quickly. The Blackhawks need all the scoring they can get with Tuukka Rask in net.
Chicago is a deep team, but it's hard for even depth to replace Kane and Toews.
It's hard to see the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup with little help from Toews and Kane.
Sure, it's possible but not ideal.
2. Can the Blackhawks Win One in Boston?
The TD Garden is a tough building to play in.
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The Boston Bruins have a 7-2 record at home during the playoffs. The last time they lost at the TD Garden was against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.
That's a long time ago.
The Blackhawks need to steal at least one game from the Bruins at home. They can't go down 3-1 when they come back to the United Center for Game 5.
Sure, the Blackhawks erased the 3-1 series lead the Detroit Red Wings had in the Western Conference Semifinals, but this is the Stanley Cup Final.
The Blackhawks need to at least split the next two games at TD Garden.
1. Can Tuukka Rask Be Solved?
Tuuka Rask has been phenomenal in the playoffs.
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Tuukka Rask has been a wall in the playoffs.
With a league-leading .944 save percentage and a 1.73 goals-against average in the playoffs, Tuukka Rask is on his way to win the Conn Smythe.
Rask has kept his team in games. It took the Blackhawks 63 shots to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 1, and Rask only allowed one goal in the first period of Game 2 when the Blackhawks had 19 shots on goal.
Chicago needs to shoot more on net to have a chance to win this series.
The Blackhawks solved Jonathan Quick in Game 4 against the L.A. Kings, let's hope Chicago can do the same with Tuukka Rask.
Viktor Stalberg has struggled to stay in the lineup since the Minnesota Wild series.
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Will Viktor Stalberg make an impact?
Viktor Stalberg was a healthy scratch for the first two games against Boston. Now that he's going to be back in the lineup for Game 3, he needs to show Coach Joel Quenneville that he deserves to be back. Stalberg has what Boston does not—speed.
Will fatigue continue to be a factor?
Chicago has played three overtime games in a row—Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings and both Games 1 and 2 against the Bruins. The Bruins, on the other hand, should be less fatigued after sweeping the Pittsburgh Penguins. The longer the series goes, the more it favors Boston.