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Three Ways The Hawks Can Clinch In Game Six

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 24, 2013 8:40PM

All eyes are on the TD Garden Monday night to see if the Blackhawks can seal their second Cup title in four years by beating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Cup will be in the building.

For most Hawks fans it doesn’t matter if the Hawks win by a goal, by several or in overtime, so long as the team can seal the deal. And, if not, at least the Hawks have home ice advantage for Game 7 and another shot to seal what has been an exciting and tense series. But if the Hawks are going to bring the Cup back to Chicago here are some things they have to do.

The stars need to show up once again: The momentum in this series has swung in Chicago’s favor since coach Joel Quenneville paired Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together with Bryan Bickell. That line has accounted for four goals and six assists in Games 4 and 5. More to the point, the Toews-Kane-Bickell line has simply abused Boston’s Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg the past two games. Their speed has completely neutralized the Bruins’ size. Toews declared himself “100 percent” ready for Game 6 after being knocked out of Game 5 on a hit by Johnny Boychuk. Bruins coach Claude Julien, meanwhile, said it’s likely Patrice Bergeron will play in Game 6 after being sent to the hospital in Game 5.

Weather the Bruins’ early run: Boston is going to take the ice and try to dictate the tempo of the game, much like they did in the third period of Game 5, and they’re going to try and physically intimidate the Blackhawks. That means protecting Tuukka Rask, blocking shots and trying to physically dominate the Hawks. Quenneville should let the Bruins beat themselves silly chasing the Hawks around the ice and look for advantages on shift changes. The one stat in which Boston beat Chicago Saturday was hits, with a 53-22 advantage. That isn’t “imposing will” on anyone. That’s playing stupid.

Protect Corey Crawford: For a goalie who’s one game away from being a Stanley Cup winner, the Hawks’ Crawford doesn’t get the respect he deserves, especially matched against the likes of Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Quick and Rask. After Game 4, all everyone wanted to talk about was the five goals Boston scored on Crawford's glove side and not the six goals Rask allowed. While hockey writers have spent terabytes of space positing about Crawford’s weak glove side, all he’s done is rebound from poor performances. He was up to the challenge in Game 5's final period but wasn't tested much in the first two periods receive help as the Hawks spent the first two periods in the Boston zone. If the Bruins end up dictating the pace of the game and get their looks against Crawford, Chicago will need to block some shots before they have a chance to pass above Crawford’s glove into the goal and clear the puck fast when they find themselves in the penalty.