After two of the most entertaining Stanley Cup Finals games NHL fans could ever hope for, the Chicago Blackhawks will travel to TD Garden to square off against the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the tied championship series.
Each team has taken a victory thus far in the finals, and the pressure to take the lead in the series will have both teams pressing the issue in the offensive, defensive and neutral zones Monday night.
With the Bruins and the Blackhawks both predicated on great defensive hockey and timely scoring from all lines, there is little doubt that Game 3 of this Stanley Cup battle will be just as intense as the first two matchups.
Casual and hardcore hockey fans can’t afford to miss a second of this amazing postseason action.
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
When: Monday, June 17 at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
Boston Bruins’ Biggest Key to Victory
The Boston Bruins are shutting down the Blackhawks offensively and minimizing turnovers, but they are missing an edge that would put them over the top as the clearly better team in this series.
That missing element is the booming shot of captain Zdeno Chara from the point.
While there is no doubt that Chicago deserves immense credit for blocking shots and keeping Chara out of position to take the ideal set-up passes, the Bruins must make a more contentious effort to get the puck to the hardest shooter in the league in the offensive zone.
With just three shots in the first two games, Chara has to play a larger offensive role Monday.
The Blackhawks will attest to just how well the gigantic defender is playing in his own zone—amassing over 76 minutes on the ice in two games—but the perennial double-digit goal scorer must contribute more in the offensive zone if Boston wants to win the series.
Chicago Blackhawks’ Biggest Key to Victory
The Chicago Blackhawks made it to the Stanley Cup Finals with a great defensive game plan and elite goaltending from Corey Crawford, but the team must find an offensive rhythm if they want to beat the Bruins in Game 3 and beyond.
Chicago has some of the top offensive players in the league, but they are faltering in the finals.
With bona fide stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa totaling a combined three points in the first two games of this series, the Blackhawks must figure out the riddle of Tuukka Rask and the Bruins’ defense.
The four struggling offensive stars combined for 154 points during the lockout-shortened regular season, and while the depth players on the Chicago roster are pulling their weight, the team must snap out of its scoring funk if it wants to win another Stanley Cup.
The best players have to shine in the biggest situations, and that’s the only chance the Blackhawks have to walk away victorious Monday and win the entire series.
Game 3 Prediction: Boston 2, Chicago 1