Five Keys to Another Bruins Cup Victory

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The Stanley Cup Final is just hours away from beginning. Both the Bruins and Blackhawks have had their fair share of time for game planning and final preparation. Without a doubt, each of these clubs will be ready to roll come puck drop Wednesday night, as Lord Stanley’s Cup is now within close reach.

So what must the Bruins do in order to defeat Chicago and obtain their second Cup in three years? The Blackhawks are quite similar to the Pittsburgh Penguins offensively. Though Chicago is much grittier, hardnosed, determined and focused.

Boston utilized a total team effort in disposing the Penguins. It goes without saying that the Bruins will have their hands full in trying to suppress the skillfulness of the Blackhawks. Claude Julien and the experience of the Bruins will surely lend a helping hand in combating the men from Madison Avenue. Even still, there are five vital keys to victory that must be met in order to be crowned champions.

Without further a due, here are my five keys to beating the Chicago Blackhawks and recapturing the Stanley Cup:

5. Win the physical battles

Unlike Pittsburgh, Chicago has a talented, contributing bruiser along their frontline. Bryan Bickell makes a living banging away below the goal line, winning puck battles in deep, and parking himself in front of the opposition’s goaltender. Bickell has had a strong playoff, registering 8 goals and 5 assists. He is a force and tough to move once in position. If the Bruins hope to allow Tuukka Rask a clean look at incoming shots they must handle Bickell and bang him around with the hopes of deterring the 6-foot-4, 230-pound winger from heading to the net. If not, Rask may misjudge some shots resulting in a goal or easy rebounds.

4. Hinder the Hawks goal scorers

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Sharp are always a scoring threat when on the ice. They are fast, elusive, smart, and play with the upmost pride. Kane and Hossa in particular are extremely crafty and are known to score some highlight reel goals. Boston must carry over that same formula they used in holding Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the rest of the Penguins top guns to 0 points in four games. The Bruins will roll if they can emulate such an effort.

3. Win the special teams battle

Shockingly enough, Chicago’s power play unit converts at lower percentage than that of Boston. On the flipside of things, both teams possess the top penalty killing units in the NHL this postseason. It’s no coincidence these teams are meeting up because of the great discipline they share with a man down. It’s almost certain that few power play goals will be scored. Therefore the Bruins must find away to remain locked in on the kill, while tallying a few on the power play in order to emerge as victors.

2. Keep calm and Rask

Aside from Patrice Bergeron’s heroics and David Krejci’s offensive domination, Tuukka Rask has been the man, hands down. Tuukka has single handedly bailed the Bruins out of numerous situations along the way to this Cup Final. His ability to remain calm, cool, and collected at the most intense of times separates him from the rest. He’s a unique character and is motivated to lament his own legacy amongst the all-time Bruin greats.

Rask has been unworldly with his play of late and is showing no signs of slowing down. Dominating the Blackhawks is not out of the realm of possibility, considering he just helped lead a sweep of the Penguins, posting two shutouts in the process. If Rask remains in the drivers seat, Boston will almost certainly dispose of Chicago.

1. The top guns need to keep firing

Boston top line trio of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton are all having a career postseason to be remembered. Krejci (21 points) and Horton (17 points) sit at one and two in playoff scoring, while Lucic has chipped in a respectable 13 points. They have had their way in the opening three rounds, ultimately propelling the Black and Gold to the Cup final with some outstanding offensive play.

Krejci is no newcomer to postseason success. In 2011 he was an essential piece in capturing the banner and he is now following that up with some impressive work in 2013. Horton is known for his clutch goals and Lucic is always a handful because of his rugged demeanor. If they find a way to breakdown Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook (Chicago’s top d-men), Boston will be hoisting the Cup and the duck boats will be readied.

Frank O’Laughlin – Lead NHL Contributor – TitleTown Sports Network

 

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