NHL Stanley Cup Pick: Blackhawks vs. Bruins Game 4
Matchup: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins
Date/Time: June 19th, 8:00 p.m. ET
NHL Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Moneyline: Boston -131
With a dominating shutout win on Monday night, the Boston Bruins have taken a 2-1 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals. Game 4 on Wednesday night is now practically a win or go home game for the Blackhawks before the series shifts back to Chicago
In a freak occurrence before Game 3, RW Marian Hossa was hit with a puck and subsequently a late scratch. His availability for Game 4 is in question, but if the Blackhawks played like they did without him the entire team may as well sit this one out. Chicago was dominated in the faceoff circle, winning just 28.6% of faceoffs and couldn’t maintain possession. This was crucial as the one area the Blackhawks had an advantage in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals was power play chances, but they were unable to keep the puck in the zone and put constant pressure on the Bruins during the man advantage. At this point, Chicago has to change it up whether it be through shaking up lines, a different style of play, or something else Joel Quenneville can think of. If the Blackhawks don’t change something, Bruins fans might take a cue from the Red Sox and revel in some “Sweet Caroline” at the expense of the visitors.
What more can be said about the dominance of Tuukka Rask? He has been virtually bulletproof over the last two series, and if you take out Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals he has allowed in just three goals over the past six games with three shutouts. Rask hasn’t done it alone though, his teammates are constantly blocking shots and getting in the middle of passing lanes to make the netminder’s job easier and the Bruins’ backchecking has been something fierce in the NHL playoffs. Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Bruins’ defensemen are also throwing their weight around and punishing players against the boards when they get the opportunity. RW Jaromir Jagr still is goalless in the playoffs, but a beautiful pass across ice to Patrice Bergeron on a two-man advantage for the Bruins left the center acres of space to slot in the second goal of the night for the home side. If the Bruins can keep this level of play up, they’ll soon be lifting Lord Stanley’s Cup for the second time in three years.
Until Rask shows signs of mortality, it would be unwise to go against him. Boston has responded from a somewhat lackluster performance in Game 1 with two inspiring performances over the last two games, and with a raucous crowd at their backs, it’s going to be tough to beat the Bruins.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Boston Bruins Game 4 Pick: Boston Bruins -XXX