Bookmark me!

Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 Thoughts

Saturday 8pm NBC

We came into this series knowing the Blackhawks were not necessarily playing their best hockey of the year but proved they were capable of being the best team on any given night this year. Meanwhile the Bruins had in fact found their early season magic. We weren’t (or maybe just I wasn’t) totally sure how this series would play out given the Eastern and Western Conferences didn’t play each other all year but we knew the Bruins weren’t going to go down easily. Game 1 was about as telling as a game can be. The Bruins can hang with the mighty Blackhawks and may even be the better team right now... yet the series is tied at two games apiece.

This series has thrown me through a loop. Game 1 proved the Bruins had a legit chance to win despite losing a heartbreaker. Game 2 further proved that point as they bounced back and won that one in overtime. Game 3 they dominated and looked like they would roll through the rest of this series firing on all cylinders.

Then Game 4 happened. The Blackhawks adjusted by going right at Zdeno Chara. How do you nullify a great linebackers speed? Run right at him. How do you eliminate the reach of a big boxer? Get in close to him and take away his advantage. How do you combat arguably the best defensive player in the league? Dump the puck into his corner and hit him. Maybe he wins most of those battles and maybe he puts some good licks in on your top offensive players. But you might be able to wear him out a bit and on the plays where your team does escape his corner with the puck you won’t have him in front of the net to clean up any passes or rebounds. That’s what Chicago did in Game 4 and the Bruins answered with the worst defensive performance maybe all year. Every rebound the Blackhawks got to the puck first giving them great chances right in front of the net. They scored six goals en route to tying the series up to regain home ice with a pivotal Game 5, at home, on the horizon.

There is a silver lining for the Bruins though. They only allowed six or more goals in one game all year (a 7-4 loss to Buffalo in the 7th game of the season). Not to mention after allowing five goals in regulation Chicago still needed overtime to get the win.

Trying to think about who is going to win this series really hurts my head. On one hand the Bruins have proven they can win on the road and they are always better with their backs against the wall. Plus you know they are going to bounce back in Game 5. On the other hand the Blackhawks have been completely outplayed in this series yet it is tied 2-2 and they are heading home.

Also a thought maybe you should have when deciding who you think will win a finals matchup, “Who will be remembered as the best team from this season in 10 years?” I know it doesn’t always decide who wins, especially not in the NHL, but it is a good barometer for making that pick.

Coming into the series I was convinced it was Chicago win or lose. They went 36-7-5, got a point in their first 24 games, aka the first half of the shortened season. Of those 24 games they won 21 of them, only four took overtime and three more took a shootout. Also, their three losses in that span all came in a shootout. That’s about as good a run as there is and makes it almost impossible to unseat them as the most memorable team of the year.

However the Bruins may actually be able to do just that. The first half of the season made them look like the best of the East by far. Then they struggled the second half and really struggled coming into the playoffs. Then just when you thought that great early season play was lost they ran out to a 3-1 series lead over Toronto before their struggles caught back up with them allowing Toronto to win three straight to force Game 7. Where you know what happened. But in a snap of your fingers the Bruins went from their awful late season ways to their early season ways. They emerged victorious in incredible fashion and have only gotten better since. This playoff run by the Bruins might be enough to forget about that crazy first half by the Blackhawks. But they have to win the Cup. These are the two best teams this season and they deserve to be here and it’s fitting that it is tied heading into Game 5.

I think the Bruins have the edge as it stands now and here’s why. They are 4-1 in these playoffs following a loss. That includes bouncing back in Game 2 after a heartbreaking Game 1 loss in triple OT. Game 5 may be a total toss up, but if the Blackhawks win there is zero chance of the Bruins losing in Game 6 at home. If the Bruins win tonight they obviously have an enormous opportunity to close the series out at home on Monday. In other words if the Bruins win tonight they should secure the cup in their own building whereas if the Blackhawks win tonight this series is going to a seventh game... where anything can happen and where the Bruins have proven to be at their best.

Right now the lines are Bruins +125 or Blackhawks -145. The over/under sits at 5 goals with the over at +130 and the under at -150.

If you think the Blackhawks are only going to get better it would probably be wise to parlay their money line and the over for +289 odds. Just remember how good Tuukka Rask limited the Penguins to just two goals in four games, aka that guys really good. The smarter bet would probably be just to take their money line. If you bet the over for the plus odds chances are you will end up just hoping it pushes.

If you think the Bruins just keep grinding obviously the bet is to parlay their money line and the under for +275 odds. That seems like the smarter play tonight even though I feel like who wins this game is a total toss up. Perhaps an even smarter bet would be to take the Bruins series price currently at +115.

Good luck tonight.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

You may also enjoy... 

Blackhaws vs Bruins Preview    

NHL Home Page 

Please help us out click the ads tell a friend and/or click through our Amazon banner before you buy something. Mission Statement

Bookmark and Share