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Unstoppable Blackhawks vs Immovable Bruins: Original 6 At It's Finest

Goodman Sports hockey specialist Robert Wranovics reports:

So here we are, we now are going into a best of three series to determine who is going to bring home Lord Stanley's cup. To be honest, sure we can say this game went to overtime and that it was dead even, but Game 4 was a fluke given the amount of goals allowed on both ends. This whole series has been a story of two teams so evenly matched that the winner literally comes down to a coin toss or, in terms of the actual game, the difference between a shot off the post or in the net. The combined 11 goals last game is simply unheard of for the caliber of goaltending that we have in front of us. Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford are evenly matched with the slight, if any advantage, going towards Rask. Tuukka Rask has allowed 699 shots against in the playoffs compared to Crawford's 624, and has allowed only 41 Goals to Crawford's 43, with Rask's GAA being only .03 less then Crawford's this postseason.  Hence why, in terms of goaltending at least, it is a coin toss as to who will outperform who.

Let's be honest here – sure Marian Hossa returned during game 4 and is a proven winner in his career in the Finals, but did he really bring anything to the table in Game 4? Given that he spent the third most time on the ice in Game 4, he only produced an assist good for one point. Assists do not win games which mean the Hossa factor here is now mute for the time being. Once again we find ourselves at a stalemate when it comes to producing goals. The firepower that can light the lamp is literally dead even in goal scoring going into Game 5. Patrick Sharp leads the postseason in goals with 10 and the next Blackhawk is Bryan Bickell with 8, giving Chicago a combined 18 goals. While impressive, it's matched by the Bruins. Boston too has 18 goals between David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron with 9 apiece. The next top goal scorers are Nathan Horton and Patrick Kane with 7 each. This leave us in an offensive stalemate, both teams are capable of lighting the lamp but both will answer each other, going tit for tat. This is exactly why we have seen 3 of the 4 games go to Overtime to determine a winner especially when you factor in the great goaltending.

As for Game 5, Here is what each team must do to win:

Boston Bruins: The Bruins cannot afford to get into a firepower display with Chicago. While the stats show they can keep up, we must keep in mind that if Marian Hossa wakes up it can become a problem for the Bruins. In Game 4, they were outshot 47 to 33, which is not the defensive style of hockey the Bruins play. They must step up the physicality of the game and limit Chicago's shots and opportunities. After all, if you are being checked often, you cannot shoot the puck (since you're on your back). If they play the defensive hockey that got them into the Cup Finals and keep games low scoring they will win; Tuukka Rask will do the rest.  Look at Game 3 which displayed a 2-0 shutout in Boston's favor. If it becomes a high scoring game, the Bruins will find themselves in trouble very quickly. The Bruins are also a better road team than they are at home, as they have proved all season when it matters most (Toronto ring a bell?)  They also must not forget that they swept the Penguins who were a favorite to be in the Finals.

Chicago Blackhawks: Don't play Bruins style of hockey! The Blackhawks must avoid allowing the Bruins to get into their head and interrupt their chemistry as they did with the Leafs and the Penguins (they did rough up Sidney Crosby after all). This Blackhawks team is younger and a bit faster, but also has more firepower then the Bruins and must display it. If they can make it a high scoring game with 4 or more goals total they can do the rest as they are 2-0 in the series when this happens and 0-2 when it does not. They have to allow their offense to work, allow Toews, Sharp, Hossa and Bickell to get good chances and to let loose. They must also defend their home ice. Game 5 is coming back to Chicago. It is important for them to win at home in order to win the cup – PERIOD. The Hawks also must aim to win in regulation. If games consistently go to overtime, fatigue will set in as they have played more games this postseason than the Bruins. Sure they are 2-1 in overtime game this series, but it would favor them much more to simply put it away in three periods. Most importantly, while Crawford is great, he is suspect and they MUST support him. Make Rask feel the pressure, and don't allow the Bruins to dictate the pace of the game.

What is most amazing about this series is the fact this is the first time the Eastern and Western conferences are facing each other ALL YEAR. Argue tainted cup due to a shortened season all you want, but this series has been a treat with nail bitters each and every night thus far. My personal prediction going forward (take with at least a grain of salt) is that the Blackhawks will take Game 5 but the Bruins will take Game 6 and Game 7 just like they did versus Vancouver, not too long ago. Nonetheless, it will be entertaining as we are witnessing what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Buckle up and expect for this to go to 7 games.

Food For Thought: Jaromir Jagr hasn't won a Cup since Mario Lemieux played way back in the 90s.