Both teams have a lot of guys that are shoot-first guys. I think you can say Patrick Sharp is a shooter, Brent Seabrook is very much a shooter, Zdeno Chara is a shooter. Go up and down the lineup and there are shooters both up front and on the back end for both sides; there are a lot of skilled guys who can score.
Boston has the most goals by defensemen and the most points by a defense corps in the playoffs. That being said, what I liked about both teams in Game 1 is they were shooting to create goals. They weren’t just shooting to score goals.
There are two ways to score goals. You can shoot to score, or you can shoot in a way to try and set up a scoring chance for someone else. I saw guys shooting for the far pad a lot. Sometimes they would take a little heat off the shot hoping that the goalie couldn’t control the puck if it hit his low blocker and spit back out.
I saw Dave Bolland do it a few times, and several of the Boston defensemen tried to do it. They weren’t trying to put pucks through shin pads with pinpoint accuracy or with a laser to a certain spot. They were just trying to get pucks to the net a lot of times, even from bad angles.
When you look at both teams that are here and their ability to score, it is not just because of all the talented players that are on both rosters. They are also doing a lot of the greasy things it takes to score.
That was one of the things that I was worrying about with Chicago coming into this series. Would the Blackhawks forwards be willing to go to the front of the net and pay the price to score the ugly goals?
I think that question has been answered. The Andrew Shaw goal in triple overtime of Game 1 was a perfect example of this. That was a double-layered screen, and a double deflection on top of that. The puck hit Bolland’s stick up high and then again off Shaw, who had gone to the net.
That goal typifies the way you need to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This goes for both teams, but especially for the Chicago Blackhawks. You know the Bruins are going to play like that, but because they have so much finesse and hockey sense, I wasn’t sure the Blackhawks were committed to playing that way.
If you go back and look through the playoffs, they didn’t really play that way against the Minnesota Wild consistently. They certainly didn’t play that way consistently against the Detroit Red Wings, especially early on in that series. You can even argue that against the Los Angeles Kings it kind of came and went.
If the Chicago Blackhawks want to win this series, they need to continue to do more than that. We know the Bruins are going to play that way all the time, so it will be up to the Blackhawks to try and match them.