Saturday, 22 June 2013

Now That's Entertainment!

If this NHL Stanley Cup Final hasn't delivered in every way possible yet, I'm not sure what you're looking for in terms of a hockey game. Great saves, big goals, massive hits, and many overtime periods are just some of the highlights seen in this series. Add the facts that these are two Original Six teams and both were at or near the top of their conferences' respective standings, and you have yourself a Stanley Cup Final that will rival any over the last two decades in terms of the entertainment value.

While it seemed that both teams were willing to do whatever it took to go up 3-2 in the series, the Blackhawks, powered by a pair of Patrick Kane goals, are now one win away from a Stanley Cup. There were some notable losses aside from Boston losing the game, though, as both Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron didn't play in the third period at all. Are there significant injuries? Toews did sit on the Chicago bench for the third period after taking a massive hit from Johnny Boychuk - see above - but Bergeron left the United Center in an ambulance under his own power. If either of these players are gone from the series, it could swing momentum in a big way.

While it appeared that no one from the Blackhawks had yet to step up and grab hold of the Conn Smythe Trophy yet, I now believe that Patrick Kane is the man who will hoist that trophy over his head if the Blackhawks indeed win. Kane has been on fire in his last two games especially, notching three goals and an assist. He has seven goals in his last seven playoff games. He's seen his points total increase to 19, second-best in the playoffs only to Boston's Devid Krejci. While Crawford could still garner enough votes, that glove hand of his may sway voters to look at Kane's offence as the reason for Chicago winning. I'm one of this inclined to believe that thought.

If nothing else, the final five minutes of tonight's game were the reason to love hockey. Two teams who are evenly-matched went up and down the ice playing firewagon hockey. There were shots, saves, transitions, and hits, and all of it came while the Bruins were pressing for the equalizer. Honestly, if watching the game tonight didn't get you excited about hockey, you might be dead. I'd have your pulse checked by someone immediately.

The one guy who needs to break out if this series is to go seven games? Jaromir Jagr. It's been 21 years since Jagr played in a Stanley Cup Final, and we're now 21 years and counting since he scored in one. He has yet to dent the twine in this series, missing on a glorious chance last night when Crawford stoned him cold.

And the clock keeps ticking for Jagr as these Stanley Cup Final games near the end. While Jagr has certainly been a force along the boards and magical at threading the needle on nearly impossible passes, goals continue to elude him. He's the one guy who could push the Bruins past the Blackhawks if he could only find the back of the net.

Monday night sees the series shift back to Boston for Game Six. With their backs against the wall, will Boston answer back and force a winner-takes-all Game Seven in Chicago? Or will the Blackhawks win hockey's greatest prize with their third-straight win in this series? We'll know all on Monday night.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: