Should it surprise anyone that this series is tied 2-2, as it shifts back to Chicago for Game 5 on Saturday.
But as the series continues and the final prize grows even closer on the horizon, this aspect has triggered more focus. A slow start at this juncture could be the difference between a Stanley Cup championship and being the runner-up.
While much of the focus after last night’s 6-5 loss was on Boston’s failures defensively, that’s not the only thing the Bruins need to improve for Saturday’s Game 5 in Chicago, according to head coach Claude Julien.
“Our counterattack wasn’t as good as it could have been or should have been,” said Julien. “When we regain possession of the puck, we want to get that puck moving in the right direction so we can get a good pace to our game.”
And that didn’t happen enough, he said — “A lot of times we just were standing still, weren’t moving.”
But even (or perhaps especially) after a game in which his team didn’t play its best, Julien was trying to stay positive.
“It’s one loss,” he said. “We’ve got two wins, we’ve got two losses. It’s about preparing for the next game, and our mood is fine.
“Who wouldn’t be happy to be in the Stanley Cup finals? You’ve got to remember where we are and what’s at stake here, and certainly not hang your head over a loss.”
PHT Morning Skate: While Bruins compete, Dougie Hamilton watches and learns
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Recently inked goaltender Joacim Eriksson is expected to compete with Eddie Lack for the backup gig in Vancouver. That’s assuming of course that the Canucks can trade Roberto Luongo this summer. (Vancouver Province)
The top 30 quotes of the year from Kings coach Darryl Sutter. (LA Kings Insider)
Did the Philadelphia Flyers make the right move by acquiring the rights to 35-year-old defenseman Mark Streit? (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The Detroit Red Wings have been fishing for a top-tier defenseman ever since Nicklas Lidstrom retired. So could they pursue Kris Letang? Helene St. James offers the argument against Detroit acquiring the Norris Trophy finalist. (Detroit Free Press)
Chicago Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers hasn’t played yet in the 2013 postseason, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t contributed. (CSN Chicago)
Meanwhile, Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has also been serving as a healthy scratch during the Stanley Cup Final. However, at the age of 20, this run is more of a learning experience for him. (Toronto Star)
The Bakersfield Condors finished last in the ECHL in 2012-13, but they’re vowing to make the playoffs next season. That’s hardly an usual statement, but they’re backing it up with a free ticket promotion should they fail to meet their goal. (Bakersfieldcondors.com)
Highlights from Chicago’s 6-5 overtime win against Boston:
Video: Bruins, Hawks combine for five goals in 11 minutes during wild second period
If you’re the type who grimaces at a “low-chance game,” then Wednesday’s Game 4 matchup has been a breathe of fresh air. Actually, the second period was more like a wild circus of scoring. The two squads combined for five goals in about 11 minutes of game time.
Update: here are all five of the goals in a single video:
Maybe it’s all about one star finally breaking out, as Jonathan Toews broke a 10-game scoring slump to make it 2-1 (6:33 into the second):
It appears that Joel Quenneville was wise in putting the Chicago Blackhawks’ top two players back together, as Patrick Kane made it 3-1 with this rebound shot about two minutes later (8:41 in):
For a while there, this game seemed like it was falling apart for Boston, but the Bruins showed they can hang. Milan Lucic made it 3-2 by capitalizing on a loose puck (14:43 in):
Less than a minute later (15:32 in, to be exact), Michael Frolik set up a 2-on-1 goal for Marcus Kruger:
The Bruins refused to get deflated – or maybe they didn’t have time to sulk – as Patrice Bergeron took advantage of a weird bounce or two to make it 4-3 with this power-play tally (17:22 in):
Those goals don’t represent every chance by any means, either. Patrick Sharp was unable to bury a couple high-end chances and the second period ended with such a frenzy that the goal horn operator prematurely announced a phantom score.
It’s hard to predict who will win this game (which Chicago leads 4-3), but here’s a safe one: both head coaches are probably livid right now. Tune in for the rest of the contest on NBC.
Much of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final talk has been about the Chicago Blackhawks’ putrid power play. Early on in Game 4 on Wednesday, the big action has come on the Boston Bruins’ man advantage.
Chicago began the first period looking a lot like the best team of the 2013 regular season, culminating in Brandon Saad setting up a Michal Handzus shorthanded beauty.
The Bruins were hoping for much better results in their next power play, and that was absolutely the case. They created some serious havoc for the Blackhawks before Rich Peverley scored his second postseason tally.
Here’s video of both goals in one convenient clip:
Maybe power plays won’t equal “time to go to the fridge” tonight, eh?