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Posted On Monday, 06.24.2013 / 12:35 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: The Blackhawks will win tonight

As we wait for the puck to drop tonight for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Chicago Blackhawks are right on the cusp of their second championship in four seasons. While it's been a great series so far, and these are two great teams, I have a feeling it may be pretty tough for the Boston Bruins to keep this thing going to a Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here are a few of my thoughts as we get ready for Game 6 tonight:

Bergeron's absence changes the game: Bruins coach Claude Julien said Monday he was "confident" Patrice Bergeron would play Monday night, and he had better hope so, because if Bergeron is out of the lineup, I just think it'll be too big a loss to overcome. When you look at what's happening here, the Bruins have lost two games in a row, they're not playing great, Zdeno Chara is struggling, Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr aren't doing much right now. And then you look at the other side of the coin. Chicago is starting to play the best hockey it's played all series, Patrick Kane is on fire, Bryan Bickell is playing well, the Sharp line is playing well, defensively they look rock solid and Corey Crawford has been much maligned, but all the guy does is win and now he's one win away from the Stanley Cup. I just think mentally and physically, the loss of Bergeron would be too much to overcome.

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Posted On Monday, 06.10.2013 / 2:52 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Hard to find edge in fantastic Final matchup

Usually the two teams that get to the Stanley Cup Final have had to overcome something. The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have both been tested. They've overcome the challenges and they're playing their best hockey right now. You don't get this far unless you're playing great hockey, and I think both these teams are playing the best hockey they've played all year long. They both have six excellent defensemen, they both play four lines and both teams are playing great, as you could see in their respective conference finals. To dominate two teams like the Los Angeles Kings and the Pittsburgh Penguins the way Chicago and Boston did is just phenomenal.

The 2013 Stanley Cup Final is pitting two teams that are deep, talented, experienced and playing with a ton of momentum. You probably have to go back to the 1980s when the Edmonton Oilers were playing against the Philadelphia Flyers, or maybe when the Flyers faced the New York Islanders a few years earlier, to find two teams that are this experienced in the Stanley Cup Final. It's very unusual to have a Final with two teams that have each won the Stanley Cup so recently.

So, with all that said, who has got the edge?

The answer is probably that neither team has any edge, at least not one that's obvious. I think what you've got is a powerful offensive team like the Blackhawks against a team that loves to try and play matchups and match lines. I think that's exactly what Bruins coach Claude Julien is going to have to do. He's going to want Zdeno Chara out against Jonathan Toews' line and Patrice Bergeron out against Marian Hossa's line, and it'll go from there just like it did against Toronto, the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh. And don't forget, this team returns a lot of the players that shut down a big offense in Vancouver in the Stanley Cup Final two years ago.

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Expect bounce back from Quick

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:07 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Pens need to keep it simple

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Posted On Tuesday, 06.04.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Which 0-2 team has best chance at a comeback?

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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 4:06 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose Minute: Pens Identity Stolen

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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 4:05 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Kings Live or Die with Quick

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Posted On Monday, 06.03.2013 / 2:10 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Melrose: Blackhawks are back in a groove again

What a difference a week makes. Last time I wrote, the Chicago Blackhawks were on the brink of elimination against the Detroit Red Wings and now they're just two wins away from ousting the defending champion Los Angeles Kings and returning to the Stanley Cup Final. The conference finals have tons of storylines, but with two games done out West and Game 2 coming Monday night in the East, this is what I've noticed so far.

THE BLACKHAWKS ARE BACK

Chicago didn't look quite the same over the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but after two wins to start the Western Conference Final against Los Angeles, the Blackhawks are starting to look like the team that dominated in the first half of the season. They've won the last two games against the best defensive team in the Western Conference and they did it with a remarkable amount of composure. Chicago outplayed L.A. badly in the first period and still ended up trailing when the Kings scored first. That could have easily escalated in frustration, but the Blackhawks continued doing what they do. They didn't panic. They attacked Jonathan Quick, they looked faster than L.A., they were much more in control and they just kept shooting and going to the net and they got rewarded.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 4:33 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Blackhawks have the momentum

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 4:30 PM

By Barry Melrose -  NHL Network Analyst /NHL.com - Melrose Minute

Niemi or Quick in Game 7?

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I watched many times this year the series between the Russians and Canada in 1972, and he was a dominating player there. After I watched the tapes, I respect him a lot more because he turned the series around. He was the guy. In that time, he was the best in the world. It’s a big honor for me to tie him.

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