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.
“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.
Apr 24, 2014, 3:28 PM EDT
“We know what to expect from him.”
Apr 24, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT
“It’s our puck battles. It’s our willingness to play in those areas and make it a tough game. “
Apr 24, 2014, 2:41 PM EDT
Kings captain will play on the top line for tonight’s elimination game.
Apr 24, 2014, 2:16 PM EDT
“Since March 20, 2011, I’ve been a changed player. I’ve approached the game differently. I think differently about the game.”
Apr 24, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT
Mikael Granlund became only the fifth NHL player in the last 75 years to score his first career playoff goal in a 1-0 overtime game.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT
3-4 month timetable for recovery.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT
Seems like a good thing to write about after last night’s game in Columbus.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:26 PM EDT
His first start of the series.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT
“They played hard, but for us it was more what we weren’t doing than what they were doing.”
Apr 24, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT
Detroit hosts Boston at the Joe tonight.
Apr 24, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT
Toews won it last year, Bergeron the year before that.
Apr 24, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT
Would be his series debut, and first game since the Sochi Olympics.
Apr 24, 2014, 9:50 AM EDT
Will Andersen or Hiller start in Game 5?
Apr 24, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT
“I think he likes the big stage.”
Apr 24, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT
Elsewhere, Detroit will play Boston and Colorado will face the Wild.
Apr 24, 2014, 1:59 AM EDT
The Blackhawks gave the Blues a taste of their own medicine.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:52 AM EDT
Another memorable moment for the American star.
Apr 24, 2014, 12:25 AM EDT
The NFL defensive back strategy.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:29 PM EDT
Nice gesture … bad sign?
Apr 23, 2014, 11:04 PM EDT
Nick Foligno called his goal ahead of time.
- Bylsma rips Penguins, calls effort level ‘troubling’ 5
- Cooke: I didn’t intend to collide knee-on-knee with Barrie 51
- On ‘score effects,’ and the challenges of playing with the lead 7
- MacKinnon: Avs ‘shut ourselves down’ in Game 3, not Wild 23
- Bergeron, Kopitar and Toews named Selke finalists 26
- Report: Zetterberg to return to Detroit lineup tonight (Update: Game-time decision) 56
- Kane’s OT goal ties Blackhawks – Blues series at 2-2 34
- Stars chase Andersen, tie series with Ducks 2-2 20
- Penguins blow three-goal lead, Columbus evens series 94
- NHL suspends Matt Cooke for seven games 104
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (137)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)