Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stanley Cup Final Preview: Games 5, 6, and 7* (*If Necessary)

This year's Stanley Cup Final has been one of the most exciting in recent memory so far with back and forth play, great, pretty good, meh goaltending from Chicago and, outside the six-pack let in during game 4, great goaltending and defense from the Bruins.  There's been drama, in 5 overtime periods and a shut out.

But what do we know so far?
1. First team to notch two wins, gets sweaty hugs and some time with the Stanley Cup over the short summer.
2. Boston, either by coincidence or by plan, has been attacking Corey Crawford's glove side like Jabba the Hutt at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
3. When Boston is down 3 goals, it probably means the game is going to overtime.
4. As repeatedly pointed out by the media: Zdeno Chara is very tall, very strong, and very difficult to play against.
5. Patrick Kane's mullet is bringing sexy back, says Billy Ray Cyrus.
6. Pierre McGuire, for some unknown reason, brings out the [expletive] best of NHLers during the post [expletive] game interviews.
7. Boston's old school organ music is way cooler than Chicago's old-school 1990's music playlist.

What can we expect for the rest of the series?
1. Every time someone brings up this oddity about Crawford getting burned like overcooked microwave popcorn glove side high, it starts a series of rebuttals that most goalies give up a lot of goals glove side.  It'd be interesting to see a shot selection chart with save percentages to show where different goalies are weak.  If 100% of the shots are shot at Crawford's glove hand, it makes sense that 100% of the goals scored are going in that way.
2. Power plays for both teams to be big factor either by actually being effective or being neutralized to the point where the other team isn't afraid to take extra penalties.
3. Bad officiating but only to be consistent with the rest of the playoffs.
4. Rene Rancourt to fist pump like a boss and tell Europe and Australia to go [expletive] themselves.
5. Teams to start being even more conservative in both breakouts and advancing the puck into the neutral zone.  There will probably be fewer stretch passes and, likewise, fewer neutral zone turnovers.  Once set up in the zone, I would still expect both teams to activate their defenseman as they look to generate some offense from the blue line.
6. Hitting and general nastiness will pick up, as you'd expect with so much on the line.
7.  Based on three overtimes in four games, there's a 75% chance each game will go to overtime.

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