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Cup finals questions: Will Hawks hold down the HuLK?

Jun 11, 2013, 9:09 PM EDT

Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Milan Lucic AP

The forward group that dominated the 2011 playoffs is doing the same through the first three rounds of 2013. So, the question is: can the Chicago Blackhawks slow down the Boston Bruins’ “HuLK” line?

The trio of Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic and David Krejci presents a befuddling mix of talent, size and skill. Head coach Claude Julien rarely splits them up, and when you look at their playoff numbers, it’s easy to see why:

Krejci: 21 points,* +14, two game-winning goals in 16 games
Horton: 17 points, +21, three game-winning goals in 16 games
Lucic: 13 points, +13, zero game-winning goals in 16 games

As this piece discusses, the lockout cut off any chance for the Blackhawks to get an idea of what they’re up against. Instead, we can only look at how Chicago handled the top players from other opposing teams in the 2013 postseason.

The verdict? So far, so good.

  • In five games against the Minnesota Wild, Zach Parise only managed a goal while Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter went pointless.
  • Henrik Zetterberg went without a goal until Game 7 of their second-round series (while adding three assists in the semifinals) and Pavel Datsyuk only managed a goal and an assist in seven contests.
  • The Blackhawks held Anze Kopitar pointless through four games before he scored a goal and an assist in Chicago’s 4-3 double OT win in Game 5.

Those numbers certainly don’t guarantee that Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford and the rest of the Blackhawks will be able to subdue that bear of a line.

Still, whether you attribute it to puck possession, positive bounces or “offense being the best defense,” it seems that Chicago is developing a track record for powering down some of the league’s most dangerous players.

* – Krejci’s 21 points tops all playoff scorers. Horton’s 17 comes in second.

For more 2013 Cup finals questions, click here.


  1. nolesshabitual - Jun 11, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    So in winning three series they outplayed their opponent’s best players and this may or may not continue in the next series. Can’t wait for tomorrow to end filler like this. Go B’s!

    • sjsblitz - Jun 11, 2013 at 11:53 PM

      Rooting for you guys, here’s to hoping Jagr gets one more Cup before here retires.

  2. foleysfish - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    I just have to say I never thought this would happen. I am a die hard Hawks Fan to the grave but the team I always have followed and considered my 2nd fav team is now facing them in the Finals. Both teams are so much alike its really going to be a great series. They both play team Defense and in my opinion they are the only teams in the NHL that there top offensive guys play D and back check like they are D men. The coaches beat it into there brains that the defense creates the scoring chances. The blue Lines are the best in league for the last 5 years. Chara & Keith should have been both been up for the Norris. I’m sorry but Subban and Letang can’t touch either of them and what do for there teams. Toews & Bergeron are best all around Forwards in the NHL. The Goalies both were the best in the league and should have both been in the running for the vezina. Both fan base are die hard hockey fans. We both cant stand Vancouver. I loved what the bruins did to them in the Finals. Nothing better than watching Burrows, Luongo, and the Sedin Sisters get what they had coming to them. I think as Hockey Fans these two fan bases can respect each other in the fact that we are a lot alike. This is going to be the best Finals in my lifetime and maybe ever. Unless one of these teams have a complete breakdown which I really would doubt it. It will be some unbelievable Hockey for 7 games and a lot of OT. As who has a edge it’s really hard to say. I want to go with my Hawks but its really going to come down to who plays to there potential. Both team keep getting better every series. I think it comes down to if the Hawks top guys get on a role and nothing else changes they win. If the Bruins can beat the hawks penalty Kill then they win. I can’t wait to see what happens. GO HAWKS

    • amityvillefun - Jun 12, 2013 at 1:07 AM

      Well said! I agree; this is a series of the ages, and the Hawks are my 2nd favorite team! Go Bruins!!!!

    • spitfisher - Jun 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM

      I appreciate everything you said…except for the pro-hawks part. Should be a great series! Go Bs

    • rogersjd16 - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      Agreed, very well said. On top of the hockey parallels (and mutual distaste for terribleness like Burrows) the cities have always been fans of one another. Incredible matchup and can’t wait for puck to drop.

      As my Chicago buddies said to me, “today, we are not friends.” Go Bs!!!!!!!!!!

  3. jacketsfan7 - Jun 12, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    Did anyone know jagrs last cup came against Chicago too?

  4. homelanddefense - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    The Hulk line seems a bit forced. Chicago can play D, that is for sure. But its not like Horton and Lucic are similar to the other players they shut down. They are both big and physical, not exactly the same style as Parise and Koivu or Datsyuk and Zetterberg.

  5. timmeh022 - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Boston has gained a lot of respect from myself as a Hawks fan, and may now be my favorite Eastern Conference team. Going to be one hell of a series. GO HAWKS!

  6. jrhawk - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Still think the Hawks don’t match up, huh, O’Brien?
    This is the second article you wrote proclaiming your Bruins bias.
    I’m willing to bet my million to your dog sh*t, you never even saw a Hawks’ game.
    PHT…can’t you find a writer who calls it honestly?

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