Saturday and Sunday proved to be very interesting in terms of opening up the Eastern and Western Conference finals.
In the East, the underdog Bruins jumped out to a 1-0 series lead and stole home ice advantage thanks to a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.
The Bruins did it in their usual fashion — hard checking, asserting physicality — a strategy that really seemed to work.
The Penguins hadn’t been shutout in 96 games since the Toronto Maple Leafs did it on Feb. 1, 2012, and hadn’t been blanked in a playoff game since a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of their first-round series in 2011.
The Bruins also managed to goad the Penguins in 28 total penalty minutes on the night, including a second period that ended with the unlikeliest of players — Evgeni Malkin — engaging in a fight with Boston’s Patrice Bergeron.
Out West, the ‘Hawks took a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Kings with back-to-back wins at the United Center.
In doing so, Chicago may have figured out the key to this entire playoff: How to beat Jonathan Quick. The Kings goalie, who has been virtually unbeatable this postseason, looked flat in allowing six goals on 47 shots before being yanked in favor of Jonathan Bernier in Game 2.
Quick allowed four total goals in Game 2, which was a rarity — the last time he had allowed four goals in a postseason affair was April 25, 2011, when the San Jose Sharks needed overtime in Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals to eliminate the Kings.
“Whoever is shooting the puck, we feel as a team that we have the confidence that it’s going to go in at some point,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “So we’ll keep shooting the puck, creating those chances and trying to take his [Quick’s] confidence away.”