Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks - 3/27/14
Chicago Blackhawks (42-16-15) at Boston Bruins (49-17-6)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm (TD Garden)
The Line: Boston Bruins -142 / Chicago Blackhawks +129 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The Boston Bruins are proving once again why they're one of the favorites to take home the Stanley Cup again come June. Despite Tuesday night's loss at home to the Montreal Canadiens the Bruins are still playing the best hockey of any team in the Eastern Conference, and when you consider the fragility that always seems to accompany the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs it makes Boston's odds look that much better. A winning streak of 12 games finally came to an end in the shootout against their arch rivals, but it wasn't for lack of effort. The Bruins had plenty of quality scoring chances in this one but were unable to solve Carey Price for most of the night. Patrice Bergeron finally broke through with his power play marker with under six minutes to play that evened the game at 1-1 and allowed the Bruins to secure at least a point. Tuukka Rask made 22 saves on the night and he stopped the first three Canadiens shooters to face him in the skill competition before allowing Alex Galchenyuk to win it for Montreal. This Bruins club has all the pieces to make another run and their veteran pieces have all been there before and won it. There really isn't much weakness with this club but if there's one thing Tuesday night taught them it's that they'd probably like to steer clear of the Canadiens in the post season. Rivalries like this one always seem to have strange things happen in them and the Canadiens certainly don't have any fear of the Bruins despite their lack of size. Lots of times teams that have things wrapped up struggle down the stretch because they're just anxious for the playoffs to finally get here. Boston looks like a club that has continued to stay focused and they work hard each and every single time they step on the ice. With Rask between the pipes and a much easier draw through the Eastern Conference, don't be surprised to see the Bruins once again holding up the Stanley Cup at the end of the year.
They'll welcome to town the Chicago Blackhawks who are going to have a hard time catching the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the Central Division. Right now Chicago looks poised for a first round match up with the Colorado Avalanche, a young club that has given them some trouble this season. Chicago's experience should win out over the course of a seven game series but it's the extra games played and the energy spent that could prove costly down the line. That type of fatigue is exactly what they'll feel after a game against the Bruins on Thursday night. After a terrible performance on Sunday in a 2-0 shutout loss to the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks rebounded in a big way against the Dallas Stars. Andrew Shaw got the Blackhawks on the board with a first period goal and Kris Versteeg and Duncan Keith made it 3-1 heading into the third. Dallas closed to within a goal late in the game but Marian Hossa's empty netter sealed the 4-2 victory. Corey Crawford made 25 saves to pick up his 29th win of the season. This game will be a good test for Chicago because this could easily be the team they meet in the finals if they're able to get through a tricky Western Conference. This one is going to be a lot of fun and I like the Hawks getting some good value in this one. These are two evenly matched teams that should play it close in a one goal game.
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