It’s the lockout side-effect that the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t play the Boston Bruins this season. In the old schedule format, they would have once; in the new realignment next season, it’ll be twice. But this year, there were no games between the two.
No, the Blachawks haven’t faced the Bruins this season. But, in a way, they have. Because in their past postseason opponents, the Blackhawks have seen some of the traits and playing styles that make up the Bruins.
“They’re like a combination of Detroit and L.A.: big bodies, skill and a lot of hard-working guys,” Nick Leddy said on Monday. “Obviously they’re going to be a hard team to play against.”
Indeed, there the Bruins do have similarities to the Wings and Kings, if you threw the latter two teams in the blender. The Wings had skill and played a faster, more stylish type of hockey, much like the Blackhawks. The Kings brought the brawn and bigger bodies. Both teams played great defense and both had great goaltending.
The Bruins possess all of that.
“They’re a great team. They’re physical, have great skill, great goaltending and can score,” Andrew Shaw said. “It’s going to be a heck of a battle.”
The Blackhawks have had some battles already in these playoffs, so that won’t be a shocker, either. The second-round series against Detroit wasn’t the toughest physical series they could’ve had, but it certainly was mentally. The Kings tried to get physical with the Blackhawks, and they certainly got their licks in. But at the end of that series, L.A. was the more black-and-blue team.
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While the Blackhawks needed seven games to eliminate the Wings and then dispatched the defending Cup champions in five, the Bruins have steamrolled over their last two series opponents in five (N.Y. Rangers) and four (Pittsburgh Penguins).
“When you look at the momentum they have off their last two rounds, they have it on their side,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They play a strong game, play the right way and we have to play a smart, hard, fast game. We’re going to have our work cut out but we’re ready for the challenge.”
In today’s world, there’s no such thing as a shortage of information on your opponent. Between video, scouts, etc., it’s there to be had. Certainly a team can throw some tricks your way once a puck drops. But for the most part, you know what you’re getting. The Blackhawks can also look back at recent postseason opponents, and combine them, to see what’s ahead of them.