Game 6: Boston Bruins host Chicago Blackhawks (8:00 p.m. ET — NBC/Live Extra)
Chicago leads series 3-2
The Chicago Blackhawks started this season with a historic 21-0-3 run and could finish it tonight by claiming the Stanley Cup. Of course, no one is saying that it will be a simple matter to beat the Boston Bruins one final time. Not in Boston. Not after everything the Bruins have achieved to this point.
“We’re an experienced group that’s been through a lot,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Not just that but we have a good group of guys that understand what’s at stake. They understand what’s happening, and they know what they need to do.”
“You’ve got to be careful,” Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said, “you’ve seen a couple years ago Boston was down 3-2, they won at home and then won Game 7 in Vancouver. We know this team is capable of coming back.
“For us I know it’s a big game, but you want to play it like it’s any other game, play the way we have all season, and try to pull one out here on the road.”
Anything is possible if Patrick Kane has another game like he had on Saturday when he beat Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask twice to lead Chicago to a 3-1 victory. Kane is the Blackhawks’ playoff scoring leader and he’s been a big contributor in the Stanley Cup Final with three goals and five points in five games.
He’s also the man who won the 2010 Stanley Cup Final with his overtime marker in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers. Is it possible that history might repeat itself tonight?
“I think the biggest thing is trying to help contribute anyway I can,” Kane said, “help this team get a win, especially the situation we’re in. You want to take advantage of it in the next game. We have a great opportunity. I’ll do whatever I can to help the team win, and it would be a great feeling.”
On the other side of the ice, Bruins forward Brad Marchand is one of the guys to keep an eye on. He’s not an offensive superstar like Kane, but he can be very dangerous when he’s hot and he was one of the guys that came up big for Boston late in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
He doesn’t have a point in this series, but…
“Well, if he’s going to be a streaky player I would hope that streak starts [tonight],” Julien said. “I don’t think he’s played terrible, but certainly he knows he can play better.”
Then of course, there’s the elephant in the room. The 2012 and 2013 Selke Trophy winners – Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews – are both questionable for Game 6. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is “optimistic” about Toews’ chances of playing while Julien would only say Bergeron is “day-to-day.”
Both of those players are so talented and help their teams in so many different ways that either loss would be hard to overcome. If one of them ends up playing and the other doesn’t, it could tip the scales of tonight’s contest.
At the same time though, these squads are so deep and so much is on the line that it’s hard to call either team the clear favorite of Game 6 regardless of what happens with Bergeron and Toews.