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Playoffs Tonight: Bruins-Blackhawks – It’s finally time

Jun 12, 2013, 8:06 AM EDT

Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra)

It begins tonight. Everything the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have accomplished up to this point, every win, goal, save, and hit only matters to the extent that it got them this far. One of these teams will be immortalized as champions while the other will only be remembered as the final hurdle that had to be overcome.

We’ve had three off-days in a row and in that time these teams have been scrutinized from every angle, but if you just want the short version, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews summed it up best:

“They have guys all over their lineup, top to bottom, role players, score goals all season, understand what it takes to win. They don’t have a lot of holes in their game. We feel like we’re the same team. It’s just going to come down to who wants it more.”

Both of these teams have won the Stanley Cup recently, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re desperate want to see their season end in triumph.

MORE: What are the big questions heading into tonight?

“The excitement is there,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told Boston Globe. “You’ve heard people say, ‘Once you’ve been there, you want to go back.’ It’s true, we really want to go back; we made it happen. We’re excited about it and we also know what kind of challenge lies ahead for us. It’s about acknowledging that and being ready for it.”

Plus there are players that are relatively new to their respective clubs or just weren’t able to contribute when the Blackhawks and Bruins previously won it all. Guys like Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who is getting ready for his first Stanley Cup finals game.

“I dreamed about it my whole life,” Crawford said. “Worked hard, so it’s nice to finally get there after all the work. But there’s still a lot to do so we’ve got to be ready.”

Then there is the other thing that’s at stake in this series: Consideration as a dynasty. By the end of this month, Boston will have either won two Cups in the span of three years, or Chicago will have claimed the prize twice in four seasons. While everyone will have their own feelings about what makes a genuine dynasty, that is at very least a big step in that direction.

It’s also incredibly impressive given the degree of parity in the modern NHL. Nine different teams have won the Stanley Cup over the previous nine seasons. One way or another, that streak will end.

Related:

Video: PHT Extra – Previewing the Stanley Cup finals

  1. tripps3 - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Three days has felt like a month. Go get’em Hawks!

  2. therolandobottom - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:27 AM

    Let’s go Bruuuuins!!!

  3. rahavort - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    It’s going to be quite a series with hard-faught games…I’ll be counting down the hours until the puck drops. The game tonight is why I’m so wired right now, not this coffee there’s nothing like original six playoff hockey. Let’s go BRUINS

    • fpstratton - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:43 PM

      What is truly amazing is that these two teams with such great fan bases haven’t met in the playoffs since the late 1970′s. Of course, as great as these teams are this year, an early 70′s game between these two franchises would feature Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Tony Esposito, Bobby Orr, and Phil Esposito, among others. Talk about a Hall of Fame game!

  4. ilikejay - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Hawks!

  5. rogersjd16 - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Gameday!! Beeeeeeeeeeeeees!!

  6. isithockeyseasonyet - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Personally, I’d prefer more penguins articles, didn’t crosby break a nail yesterday?

    • rahavort - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      I heard he broke a nail playing golf; triple bogey every hole

      • hockey412 - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        I’ll throw in a third comment – just so Crosby being mentioned will officially be the most interesting thing commented on as far as this article goes.

        It’s funny though – PHT hasn’t been writing as much about the Pens the last couple days…and the comments have SUCKED. Sucked enough that the Pens were brought right back in to the conversation hhahahaha…eh. Go Hawks -

  7. coolhandtuukk - Jun 12, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Should be a battle out there tonight, hopefully the Hawks will get caught up in trying to physically dominate the Bruins and find out what the Pens found out early on in the ECF.
    Will be interesting to see how Julien manages his 4th line with Campbell out, going to need those guys to eat up some minutes and grind it out without exposing Daugvins… who couldn’t carry Campbell’s gear.
    Feel like Crawford might be a bit of a fraud, believe his stats are better than his game would suggest.

    Here we go now BRUINS!

    • habssuck - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      The fourth line will not miss a beat with Kelly and the third line of Duagavans, Seguin & Pevs could be interesting. Daug looked pretty good in game 4 and was an inch away from a highlight reel goal.

    • pastabelly - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      The Blackhawks just handled a very physical team in LA very well. I doubt that’s an issue. The keys for Chicago are slowing down the most dominant post season offensive line in the Krejci line and generating enough offense against the Bruins “layers” of defense. I think they could do both and that would force the Bruins to come up with another way to win. It’s just a guessing game as to whether that happens. This is a pretty even series.

    • blackfoot11 - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Definitely looking forward to this Original 6 series. I think this first game is going to be erractic and sloppy at times, as both teams have not played this year and will be getting acclimated to each other. The series will definitely settle in during Game 2. Good luck ‘Hawks and Bruins fans.

    • 2difshoe - Jun 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      coolhandtuuk:

      Crawford a fraud, doubt it.

      Chicago has home ice, will let you have your 3 wins at home.

      HAWKS in 7

      • fpstratton - Jun 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        Yes, people keep saying that Crawford is shaky, but I haven’t seen any of that so far. His defense gives him plenty of help, but he is a more solid goalie than most seem to think.

  8. joeharkins - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Thank goodness for the Stanley Cup playoffs … I think if the world was ending, ESPN would pre-empt newscasts with NBA reports … Enough !!

    • comeonnowguys - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Are you kidding? Lebron + Tebow = Wait, there’s anything happening in the entire world?

  9. dboldave - Jun 12, 2013 at 9:22 AM

    Can’t wait for them to drop the puck. I’m grateful that it’s Chicago playing and not the Kings because the 9 PM EST starts for those games would be killer!

    • patthehockeyfan - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      I’d be more than happy to lose sleep in order to see the Kings in the SCF. Agree it’s a suck start time; but, I’d endure it rather than see the Blackhawks.

    • englishpetal - Jun 12, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      have a prayer for us english fans 1am start …. but gonna be worth the lack of sleep!

      go bruins!!!!

  10. comeonnowguys - Jun 12, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    This series is going 5, either way. Either the Bruins will get the Hawks to implode quickly, or Chicago will win it quickly in five tight (or tighter than the final score would show) games.

    • Anoesis - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      I don’t think either of these teams is that fragile.

  11. jrhawk - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    More Bruin-faved comments and likes than for the Hawks. Wonder why that is?
    You know each team hasn’t played the other all season long, so how can you make such bold predictions?
    I’m a Hawks fan, do or die, but I’m not stupid enough to make ANY kind of prediction.

    • Anoesis - Jun 12, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      Simple percentages. Higher population in the northeast than in the midwest, so a few more posts in favor of the Bruins. Or maybe those rooting for the Hawks are more like you and not willing to go out on a limb. Or both. Or not.

      I must admit I’m (ever so slightly) favoring the Hawks, since their path here seemed a bit tougher. No matter what, though, I’m looking forward to an epic battle and some outstanding hockey.

  12. fpstratton - Jun 12, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    It’s the best team in hockey vs. the hottest team in hockey. The Blackhawks have been a cut above the rest all year, but they are facing a team that is obviously peaking at the right time. I think Chicago will find a way to win this, but it probably goes seven games. I think the home ice advantage will be the difference.

    • polegojim - Jun 12, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      Hawks in 6… Bruins will spend too much time trying to be physical… and give up some too-good-to-be-true scoring chances…

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