Tag: Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Kane

WATCH LIVE: Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final – Blackhawks at Lightning

For many hockey fans, it’s something of a dream series. Whether you lean toward the proven Chicago Blackhawks or the promising Tampa Bay Lightning, you’re unlikely to lament a lack of speed or skill in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

Really, it feels like puckheads are getting spoiled here. On one side, you have Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and a bevvy of other talented Blackhawks. Few would dismiss the Lightning’s chances, however, as they boast Steven Stamkos, “The Triplets” and Victor Hedman. Ben Bishop vs. Corey Crawford also makes for an intriguing goalie matchup.

The buildup might have been agonizing for some, but the plus side is that the two teams couldn’t be much more rested this deep into the postseason. Game 1 kicks off in Tampa Bay, so you can soak up the electric atmosphere on NBC and also via NBC Sports Live Extra. Coverage before and after the contest takes place on NBCSN, but you can stream also stream that footage via the links below.

Pre-game stream (NBCSN)

Game 1 stream (NBC)

Post-game stream

‘Very good chance’ that van Riemsdyk plays in Stanley Cup Final

Trevor van Riemsdyk

TAMPA — Tonight in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks will go with the same six defensemen they’ve used since David Rundblad replaced Kimmo Timonen for Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

But don’t dismiss the chances of rookie Trevor van Riemsdyk making an appearance at some point in the series.

“Not playing today, but he’s real close,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “He’s sitting there. He’s that close. We expect a very good chance he’s going to be in the series.”

Barring an injury to one of the Blackhawks’ top-four defensemen, van Riemsdyk would most likely replace Rundblad or Kyle Cumiskey, depending how those two perform against the Lightning. A right shot, he may be more likely to replace right-shooting Rundblad versus left-shooting Cumiskey.

In Game 7 against the Ducks, Rundblad logged just 5:35 of ice time, while Cumiskey played slightly more, at 8:31.

Quenneville talked glowingly today about van Riemsdyk, the 23-year-old who’s still recovering from wrist surgery and hasn’t played for the ‘Hawks since Nov. 16.

“We saw firsthand what he was able to do when he came into training camp. Surprised us all how well he played, how effective and efficient he is,” said Quenneville.

“We’ve been skating him in practice every day. One of his strengths is his reads, positionally aware, decision-making with the puck. He’s got a lot of attributes that can help our team. I think he came onto the scene rather fast for us. I think we have a lot of confidence and trust in him.”

Related: Blackhawks recall van Riemsdyk

Kane, Toews may have toughest assignment yet in Hedman, Stralman

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews

TAMPA — Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have gone up against some pretty formidable defensive pairings in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

Fitting, because they’re about to face another one — possibly the best so far.

Prior to Wednesday’s series opener, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said that Kane and Toews can expect to see a lot of his ace pairing of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman in the coming days.

“Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are two of the best players this league has seen in a long time,” Cooper explained. “But we feel Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, we go down our list and think, maybe we’re not too bad ourselves. Let’s prove to everybody you can play against these guys.

“In saying that, they’ll probably see a high dose of Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman.”

Cooper admitted that while line matching is important, getting the right defensive pair out against forwards is imperative. So it’ll be interesting to see the chess game that unfolds with Kane and Toews — assuming Joel Quenneville keeps the pieces together.

There has been talk of possibly splitting up Kane and Toews, who starred in the Anaheim series while playing together; Toews finished with five goals and two assists, Kane three and four. Quenneville was non-committal about his plans earlier this week — saying “we’ll see” and “it’s nice having some flexibility” — and, of course, his penchant for firing up the ol’ line blender is well-documented.

“Joel changes lines quite a bit,” Cooper noted. “We’ll just have to see how things go, how things start. I can’t predict what he’s going to do.

“I’m fairly certain the lineup he starts with won’t be the lineup he finishes with. He’ll move things around.”

Hedman and Stralman are superior to any of the pairings Anaheim put out in the Western Conference final. At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Hedman brings tremendous physicality while the cerebral Stralman, lauded for his ability to read the game, always seems to be in the right position to make a play. Both of their skill sets will come into play if they’re tasked with Toews and Kane, who can beat opponents in a variety of ways.

“Their hockey IQ is combined as good as they come,” veteran Bolts forward Brenden Morrow said. “You put them together, they’re pretty tough. [Toews] wins all his one on one battles, and Kane is the setup guy, playmaker with quick hands.

“They’re both tough to contain as individuals, but you put them together, that makes it that much tougher.”