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Bruins, Blackhawks Represent First Original Six Stanley Cup Clash Since 1979

Posted by Don Melrose on 6/10/2013 7:31:08 PM

For the first time since 1979, two Original Six teams will meet in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have earned the chance to play on the biggest stage of them all, and many of the pieces competing in this series already have championship experience to draw from. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, ending a drought dating back to 1961. One year later it was the Bruins that won it all, for the first time since 1972. Chicago and Boston didn’t meet during the lockout-shortened season and that has created an element of unknown heading in to this series. The Blackhawks have the home-ice advantage and are online betting favorites to win it all, but that could change in a hurry with game one on Wednesday night.

Stanley Cup Finals – Game 1
Boston Bruins @ Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday June 12, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
NHL Sportsbook Line: Chicago – 170

The Bruins will be looking to steal away home ice advantage with a win in game one, which would guarantee they return home having secured at least a split on the road. Boston won each of its first two games as the visiting team against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Chicago figures to be a tougher challenge.

NHL Betting Preview: Boston Bruins

The Bruins were supposed to be in tough as the online sports betting underdogs against Pittsburgh – then they swept the Penguins with four-straight wins. Tuukka Rask has provided the type of play that Tim Thomas gave Boston during their 2011 Stanley Cup run, posting a 1.75 goals against average and .943 save percentage despite the Bruins posting a couple of awful defensive performances in the opening round. The top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton have been a force in these playoffs, and Boston has also benefited from the improved play of Brad Marchand – who has four goals and 13 points this postseason. The Bruins are a tough, physical team that will make opponents pay every chance they get, and that was on full display against Pittsburgh.

NHL Betting Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks showed that they can handle the physical play of the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Final, but will need to step up the intensity again versus a Boston team that is much stronger at the offensive end of the ice. Bryan Bickell is the breakthrough player of these playoffs with eight goals and 13 points, while Patrick Kane broke through in game five against the Kings with a hat trick – including the overtime-winner. Captain Jonathan Toews has come under fire at times in these playoffs, but he commands a ton of attention and that has opened up room for players like Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. Corey Crawford has a nearly identical goals against average to Rask at 1.74, but his .935 save percentage isn’t on par and he will be tested early and often in this series.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The goaltending duel will be crucial for the Blackhawks, as Crawford held his own opposite Quick in the Western Conference Finals, and will be asked to do the same in this series with Rask at the other end. Boston is a tough, physical team that will want to come out and set the tone early on, and if they get to Crawford early then it could be a long night for Chicago as they chase against a tough Bruins’ defense core and Rask in goal.

NHL Betting Pick: Boston Bruins

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