It is without doubt among the most thrilling Stanley Cup Final series ever played. It isn’t among the most flawlessly executed hockey you’ll ever presented. And maybe, just maybe because each of these competitors has such readily understandable strengths and weaknesses, this series is so compelling.

We love it because we get it. The primary plot line is Chicago’s search for time and space against the Bruins layers of denial. The sub-plots span from the humorous, Rask showing us all that you don’t have to be nuts to be a great goalie to the awe-inspiring every guy finding some way to make one extra effort on every play. And oh by the way, this series is just at the half way point. Eventually there will be a winner. One of these recent Stanley Cup champions will prevail over the other. We’ll have to play it out to determine which team ultimately will lay claim to the best team of this new-NHL era.

Of particular enjoyment is witnessing corporate media track the momentum shifts. After game 1, Corey Crawford was the certain Conn Smythe winner. By the conclusion of game 3 conventional media wisdom was then declaring Tuukka Rask Conn Smythe winner. It seemed as though only the playing of games 4 and 5 was required before the Boston Bruins won what media had already anointed them.

Funny. Nobody told Chicago to lie down and take their schooling from the juggernaut that is the Bruins layered defense. And when Chicago took a two goal lead by executing the game plan we described here in the Game 3 Wrap, the Bruins obviously didn’t listen to NBCSN broadcasters who explained with certainty that the Bruins couldn’t possibly mount a comeback.

This is why we play the games. We know the teams. We understand the game. We just don’t know the outcome.

It seemed as though media began reporting the present instead of forecasting the future after Mike Brophy tweeted, “For the life of me I will never get how anybody thinks winning or losing this game decides the series. It is best of 7; there is no script”

We are being treated to a series featuring two champions that are too good to be typecast or scripted. These are two teams that have met every challenge and overcome every adversity that the game and life has set before them.

After 3 games of watching the depth step into starring and difference maker, the stars came out last night. Familiar names burned brightly from the scoreboard. Patrice Bergeron with two, Milan Lucic, Rich Peverly and Johnny Boychuk scored for the Bruins. Toews, Kane, Sharp, Seabrook, Handzus and Kruger tallied for Chicago.

So now the series heads back to Chicago where Claude Julien will try to marshal assets that can lock down Toews-Kane with Bickell or Sharp. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford will watch video and work his glove hand at practice. Marian Hossa and Jaromir Jagr will continue to be two of the hardest workers on the ice while we anticipate which, if either will be a definitive difference maker. All of the players will summon the energy to give whatever is asked, even when Coach Quenneville shortens his bench and goes with 5 D in the third period and OT. Ray Emery will accept the injustice of not getting into the SCF after going 17-1 during the regular season. many players will continue to play through injuries just like Greg Campbell gave an effective 47 second performance on a broken leg.

To a man each will leave their hearts on the ice and perform whatever sacrifice their team might ask of them because this is for the Cup.

Note: The record for most overtime games during a Stanley Cup Final is five, set in 1951. Each game of that final was decided in OT with Toronto edging out Montreal.
These teams are so evenly matched the idea of the final three games getting decided in O-T isn’t a far-fetched notion.


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