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Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Blackhawks' chances depend on these five players

Friday, 06.21.2013 / 6:12 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins are each two wins shy of having another summer with Stanley.

For the Blackhawks to start setting up their party dates, they have to play with the speed they had Wednesday in their series-tying, 6-5 overtime win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. But the Blackhawks also need to tighten up in the defensive zone and get better play from goaltender Corey Crawford.

Chicago is comfortable in an up-and-down game, but the Blackhawks would prefer to avoid another first-to-six-goals type of night.

If Chicago is going to find that happy medium, here are the five players who have to step up to win the Cup, starting with Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS):

Improvement on faceoffs key for Blackhawks

Friday, 06.21.2013 / 4:50 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Brian Hedger - Correspondent

CHICAGO -- They were numbers that jumped off the stat sheet after Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, which was held at TD Garden in Boston.

The Boston Bruins, who defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in that game to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series, won 71 percent of the faceoffs that were taken. Chicago won 16 of 56 draws that night, and won one faceoff in each special-teams situation (1-for-7 on the power play and the penalty kill).

The Blackhawks, who finished the regular season 11th in the NHL with a 50.8-percent success rate on draws, weren’t happy about their Game 3 output, regardless of the fact the Bruins ranked first in faceoffs in the regular season (56.4 percent) and continue to lead the League in that category in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (55.8 percent).

Blackhawks' Toews delivers after chat with Seabrook

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 6:59 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Most players need a guy they trust to say or do anything to prop them up when they're down or set them straight when they've gone off the rails.

For Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, defenseman Brent Seabrook is that guy -- and Seabrook had heard enough in the days leading up to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final to finally feel the need to remind Toews who he is and what he's supposed to do to help the Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins.

"To be completely honest, I was sick and tired of hearing everybody talk about everything that Johnny is doing right," Seabrook said Thursday afternoon at United Center, less than 24 hours after his overtime goal gave Chicago a 6-5 win at TD Garden to even the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final at 2-2. "He's a great player. He's one of the best in the League, and I just told him that he's got to stop thinking about that too."

Blackhawks aim to keep the tempo fast in Game 5

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 6:48 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- There are no secrets between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The team that wears the red home sweaters wants to skate and push the pace; the one in the black and gold jerseys wants to keep them from doing so.

The Blackhawks were able to open the game against the more patient Bruins for spurts in Games 1 and 2, but rarely in Game 3. Then Game 4 happened -- a wild, free-wheeling, back-and-forth battle that Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook won midway through the first overtime on the 11th goal of the night.

Now the Final is tied at two victories apiece, reducing the best-of-7 series to a best-of-3 that resumes with Game 5 on Saturday night at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

The focus for the Bruins is sure to be limiting the chances for the Blackhawks, who will want to keep the pedal to the metal as they did on Wednesday night.

Just how did Chicago find so many glorious scoring opportunities against the usually stingy Boston defense? The Blackhawks were better in each zone, and improvements in all three areas of the ice helped them find ways around and through the Bruins.

Bruins again must put overtime setback in the past

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 3:53 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

BOSTON -- Twice already in the Stanley Cup Final, the Boston Bruins have felt the agony of overtime defeat.

The first time, they struggled out of the gate in the opening period of Game 2 after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in triple overtime in Game 1. Now that the Bruins are headed to Game 5 on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. EST; NBC, CBC, RDS) with the best-of-7 series tied 2-2 because of an overtime loss in Game 4 on Wednesday, they are hopeful they can bounce back a little quicker.

The Bruins wound up pulling out that Game 2 victory (also in overtime), but they'd rather bounce back in a less difficult manner as they try to grab the series lead.

Boston center Chris Kelly said the biggest lesson from Game 3 for his team was to make sure it is ready to play at the outset of the next game.

Bruins' Rask putting difficult Game 4 behind him

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 3:03 PM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Coming off a 6-5 overtime loss in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, in which Tuukka Rask yielded his highest goal total in almost five months, the Boston Bruins goaltender admitted it felt worse the morning after the game than immediately following the defeat. And with the Bruins tied 2-2 in the best-of-7 series with the Chicago Blackhawks, he was in no mood to dwell on the past.

Heading into Game 5 Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS), Rask is all business.

Typically stone-faced the day after the loss, Rask wasn't interested in discussing peripheral things. He claimed he didn't notice Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews -- who combined for two goals and three points in Game 4 -- had been reunited on a line together. When informed his recently snapped home shutout streak of 193:16 established a new franchise record for the postseason, he barely batted an eyelash before admitting he wasn't aware of that either.

All he cared about was making saves.

Despite sitting, Hamilton growing through Cup run

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 10:54 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton spent his 20th birthday Monday wearing a suit in the TD Garden press box and watching his team beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

It's not exactly how he envisioned spending his birthday when he cracked the Bruins' opening day roster five months ago and collected four points in his first five NHL games. Just a few weeks removed from completing a decorated junior-hockey career, it was a coming-out party that made him a Boston sports darling and potentially the next great Bruins defenseman.

The ninth pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, Hamilton finished the regular season with 16 points in 42 games, ranking him third in scoring among rookie defensemen. The Stanley Cup Playoffs, on the other hand, have been a very different story. Hamilton hasn't dressed for the Bruins since Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the New York Rangers.

Director Bobby Farrelly enjoying Bruins' Cup run

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 10:24 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

OSTON -- As a player, Cam Neely became a Boston Bruins legend while scoring 344 goals in 525 games. As Bruins president, he helped assemble the squad that won the Stanley Cup in 2011 and is tied 2-2 with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Final.

But to many lovers of the Farrelly brothers' comedies, the Hockey Hall of Fame member always will be known as Seabass.

He earned that distinction being cast as the thuggish character in the Farrellys' 1995 film, "Dumb and Dumber." It was the brothers' lifelong fandom for the Bruins that inspired them to cast Neely in the role. Now that he's running a winning Bruins team, they couldn't be happier.

"Whenever someone talks about 'Dumb and Dumber,' they always ask about Seabass," Bobby Farrelly told "We didn't realize it would be such a big character. It's been a great team to root for over the years, between the Bobby Orrs and the Derek Sandersons and the Cam Neelys. This has been a very exciting NHL season, and the playoffs are unbelievable."

Blackhawks bail out Crawford in Game 4

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 2:15 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Drowning in shots to the glove side Wednesday night, Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford needed the 18 skaters wearing white sweaters at TD Garden to throw him a line and pull him out of trouble.

They did. He's back on the deck, no worse for wear.

Crawford gave up five goals to the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, the most he's allowed in any of the 21 games he's started in the 2013 playoffs, but his team scored six for the first time to escape town with a 6-5 win to even the best-of-7 series 2-2.

Blackhawks load up top line, find instant offense

Thursday, 06.20.2013 / 1:49 AM / Blackhawks vs Bruins - 2013 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

BOSTON -- Matchups sometimes dictate decisions on line combinations, so Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't fully admit he was wrong to separate forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final.

"You always get second-guessed," Quenneville said Wednesday night.

Jonathan Toews
Center - CHI
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 8 | PTS: 10
SOG: 67 | +/-: 6

But now he might be second-guessing himself after watching his reunited top line of Toews, Kane and Bryan Bickell produce a pair of goals and help set up Brent Seabrook's overtime winner in Chicago's wild 6-5 equalizing victory against the Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden.

Toews, Kane and Bickell combined for two goals and three assists. Toews broke a 10-game goal drought in the second period, and Kane scored his first of the series 2:08 later. Bickell had the first assist on Kane's goal and on Seabrook's winner 9:51 into overtime.

"Maybe it looks like I didn't know what I was doing," Quenneville said, laughing at his comment, minutes after the Blackhawks tied the best-of-7 series 2-2.

It was a moment of levity following nearly 70 minutes of roller-coaster hockey, but you wonder if somewhere in Quenneville's coaching mind he's thinking about what could have been had he put this line back together earlier in the series.

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