With the Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-5 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 4, the series now heads back to the Windy City tied 2-2.
Chicago may have regained home-ice advantage, but as these finals have shown, either team can pull out a win in either building. In what’s shaping up to be a classic series, here are a few players who will turn in big performances you may not expect.
Boston: Daniel Paille
Paille has had a marvelous series for a third-line wing, scoring both game-winners for the Bruins and being a new presence Chicago needs to be aware of. He doesn’t shoot much, but has proven to be a problem for the Blackhawks.
While he and linemates Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin were shut down in Game 4, the rest of Boston’s offense exploded. In a Chicago effort to keep the scoring down, the Blackhawks’s top lines will be focus on the Bruins’s. Paille might not have another game winner, but expect him to score at least once.
Boston: Nathan Horton
Horton had a chance to be a hero in Game 1 but just missed it. Since then, the usually productive right wing has been unusually quiet offensively after putting up 22 points in the previous 17 games.
Many point to the upper-body injury he suffered in Game 1 as the main cause. However, Horton has been playing through injury since mid-April and still produced then. He’ll spend some time on the top line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci, allowing him to capitalize and put up some numbers.
Chicago: Dave Bolland
While he’s not a prolific scorer and may not get any points in Game 5, Bolland will make his presence felt in the faceoff circle and on defense.
He hasn’t been as physical as Chicago needs him to be and will adjust that for the next game. Chicago will play great defense in Game 5 and Bolland will be a big part of that.
Chicago: Bryan Bickell
Game 4 was Bickell’s coming-out party, as he posted two assists and a plus-three rating to go along with six hits in Chicago’s victory.
With the series coming back to Chicago, Bickell will have a similar all-around performance. That includes providing great screens in front of the net and an aggressive forecheck on defense.
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