BOSTON – And, we’re back in Beantown, back where the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted another Stanley Cup after one of the most insane finishes in postseason history.
But this isn’t about what happened in late June. This is about the present, and how the Blackhawks are trying to keep pace in the Western Conference. Getting two points against the Boston Bruins tonight would help, but it won’t be easy. The Bruins are surging, going 12-0-1 in their last 13 games as they vaulted to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Blackhawks will be minus Bryan Bickell (upper body), who coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t sure would play Friday against Ottawa, either. Corey Crawford starts for the Blackhawks while Tuukka Rask gets the nod for Boston. So while you all replay memories of where you were when the Blackhawks scored two goals in 17 seconds, we’ll look ahead to the Five Things to watch for in tonight’s Blackhawks-Bruins game.
1. Don’t get caught walking down memory lane.
Yeah, we get it: you won the Cup here last June. That was great – then. Now is now, and the Blackhawks can’t let their minds wander back to June 24. The Bruins are steamrolling their way through these last few regular-season games, and the Blackhawks have to be careful they’re not the next ones rolled.
2. Take the same approach, Teuvo.
Whatever Teuvo Teravainen did on Tuesday to relax and just play in his NHL debut, he needs to do it again. The young Finnish forward said he was nervous, although you couldn’t tell that by watching him. Still, this one will be different because he’s not in the friendly confines of the United Center, whose fans applauded him when he took his first shift Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. If Teravainen has the same calm approach tonight, he’ll be fine.
3. Take the crowd out early.
TD Garden is going to be rocking tonight, especially with how well the Bruins have played lately. The Blackhawks will have to be on top of their game early, and will probably have to dodge some Bruins hits, to get momentum on their side and quiet throughout the stands.
4. Play Zdeno Chara accordingly.
There’s no doubt the Blackhawks have a ton of respect for the big defenseman, and rightfully so. But much like last postseason, they can’t let themselves be intimidated by him. They caught onto that a few games into the Stanley Cup Final, and it changed the course of the series. Give Chara your respect but don’t give him time and opportunity to do some damage against you, because if you do, he will.
5. Our pick to click tonight is Andrew Shaw.
The guy who took a puck to the face in Game 6 has been on a roll lately, with 10 points (five goals, five assists) over his last 10 games. Shaw’s been earning his time in front of the net, and it’s paid dividends. We figure he’ll come up big in the tough areas again this evening.