The Blackhawks have fought their way back to playoff relevancy, but will now have to overcome a massive opponent, both literally and figuratively. The Bruins, the second-place team in the NHL by points in the standings, stand before them, along with their 6-foot-9 (although probably closer to 7 foot on skates), Zdeno Chara.
But as Chicago celebrates the first of their three Cups in a six year dominant run this season, it’s important to remember the other two, and that includes this match up against Boston.
With both teams looking at potential spots in the playoffs, this game will be must-watch for a few reasons.
1. Goal scoring showdown
David Pastrnak leads all goal scorers this season with 38, which is one more than Alex Ovechkin and two more than Auston Matthews. But Pastrnak is just 11th in even-strength goals per 60 (greater than 150 minutes), tied with players including Nathan MacKinnon and Brendan Gallagher. One of the guys ahead of him?
Dominik Kubalik, who has been on an excellent goal scoring run in the past month, and is third behind only Jakub Vrana and Ovechkin with 1.9 G/60. While Kubalik has only 21 goals, tied for 23rd in the league, he’s been a better shooter than Pastrnak at even strength.
Watching these two go head to head will be an important part of this matchup. Plus, with both of them being from the Czech Republic, this could be a preview of what a potential line could look like if they were to play in the World Championship together.
2. 2013 vs. 2020
The Blackhawks vs. Bruins Stanley Cup Final was seven years ago, and in those years each of the teams have gone different directions. But the cores of those teams are still the same, which means fans will get to see familiar matchups with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith on one side and Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Chara on the other.
While much of the team around those cores have changed, those cores are the same, and playing some of their best hockey. Marchand has improved since the 2013 Final, and has 68 points (22 goals, 46 assists) in 53 games this season. Bergeron remains impressive as a two-way force, although he’s missed some time, but has 42 points in 44 games.
Kane leads the Blackhawks with 65 points in 52 games, including 25 goals, and Toews has had two of his best seasons the last two years in terms of production and has 44 points in 52 games. Those four players will be a must watch in this match up.
Even the goaltenders have remained the same with Chicago’s Corey Crawford and Boston’s Tuukka Rask. However, both share the net with excellent partners in Robin Lehner and Jaroslav Halak, respectively.
The Blackhawks and Bruins are scheduled to drop the puck at 7 p.m. Wednesday at United Center. To purchase game tickets, visit StubHub.
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