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Championship-caliber battle as Hawks host Bruins

by Adam Kimelman
BRUINS (1-3-0) at BLACKHAWKS (2-1-0)


Season series:
This is the only meeting between the teams this season. In their only meeting last season, Tim Thomas stopped all 32 shots he faced in a 3-0 win in Boston.

Big Story: It's the 2010 Stanley Cup champions facing the 2011 Cup winners. The Bruins are hoping to find a cure for their Stanley Cup hangover, which so far has left them with one win in their first four games. The Hawks will be looking to sweep a three-game homestand.

Team Scope:

Bruins: The thought in the Boston locker room is an early trip to Chicago, a Western Conference favorite, could provide the elixir to the Bruins' early-season maladies.

"If a tough opponent is what you need to get the best out of a lot of us, then hopefully that's the case and we play a little more like the team that we can be," coach Claude Julien told

Part of their slow start is a lack of production from their top offensive players. David Krejci has just 1 goal, while Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic have none. Those four players have a combined 5 points.

"It's on us. We have to find it in ourselves and recreate that (emotion) with every guy in here," Lucic told "It doesn't have to be up to Zdeno Chara because he's our captain, or up to the other guys because they're our alternate captains. It's on us as players to get more emotionally involved.

"It almost seems like we're focusing on the big picture -- you know, wins and losses -- rather than the little things like period-by-period and shift-by-shift like we did so well last year."

Blackhawks: The decision to shift Patrick Kane from top-line forward to second-line center was a curious move, but placing Daniel Carcillo on a line with Kane and Marian Hossa?

That was how the Hawks lined up in Thursday's 4-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets, and it worked perfectly -- Kane and Hossa each had goals, while Carcillo had an assist on Kane's goal and was on the ice for Hossa's goal on the first shift of the second period.

Carcillo is known as a depth forward and physical player, but it's not the first time he's skated in a top-six role; he would occasionally skate on a line with Mike Richards when both played for the Philadelphia Flyers.

"My game is the same every night," Carcillo said. "Getting in on the forecheck, making hits, getting on the puck and going to the net."

Kane, who played against Carcillo in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, said he's happy to have Carcillo on his side now.

"He (Carcillo) is going to create a lot of room out there," Kane said. "You see his antics before and after the whistle, which is a good thing when you're playing with him. He drew some attention and opens up some space for myself and (Hossa)."

Coach Joel Quenneville was happy with the line, and Carcillo in particular.

"They had several high-quality shifts and production to back it up," he said. "I thought everyone on that line had an outstanding game. Danny's first shift in a Blackhawks uniform was very noticeable. He started that line in a positive way."

Who's Hot:
In his second season, Bruins forward Tyler Seguin looks far more comfortable. He has 4 points in his first four games, tying him for the team lead in scoring. … Blackhawks center Dave Bolland has 3 goals in his first two games.

Injury Report: Bruins center David Krejci (abdominal) is out, and defenseman Adam McQuaid (head) is questionable. … Blackhawks forwards Viktor Stalberg (leg) and Ben Smith (concussion), who were injured in a Sept. 28 preseason game against the Red Wings, are practicing with the team and close to returning.

Stat Pack: If recent history holds, Chicago fans will get their money's worth in this one. When 2010 champ Chicago played 2009 champ Pittsburgh last season, the Blackhawks won 3-2 in a shootout. When 2009 Cup winner Pittsburgh played 2008 winner Detroit the first time in the 2009-10 season, Pittsburgh won 2-1 in a shootout. And when 2008 Cup champ Detroit played 2007 winner Anaheim for the first time in the 2008-09 season, Anaheim won 5-4 in overtime.

Puck Drop: Last season's game was marred by a verbal spat between Bruins forward Shawn Thornton and a member of the Blackhawks, who Thornton believed was taunting him after he was cut in the face by a skate.

Thornton reacted angrily in the press, with Blackhawks defenseman John Scott reacting in kind.

Time, however, appears to have cooled any hard feelings -- at least on Scott's half of the issue.

"I forgot about that," Scott told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I don't expect anything to happen. If I forgot about it, I'm sure he forgot about it. It was an issue at the time, but the press blows things up. Maybe he's still upset, but I don't have any bad blood."

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