June 12, 2013

NEHJ Staff predictions for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final

By NEHJ Staff

With the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks about to commence, there's no better time than now to make a few fun predictions for how the series will play out. 

Here's what our NHL writers foresee going down between the 'Hawks and B's:


TY
ANDERSON

JESSE CONNOLLY

KIRK
LUEDEKE

ANDREW MERRITT

BENJAMIN WOODWARD

Which team will win the Cup?

How many games will it take?

 6

5

6

Who will win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Tuukka Rask 

David Krejci

Tuukka Rask 

P. Bergeron 

Tuukka Rask 

Which Bruins line will have the most success?

 Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr

Lucic-Krejci-Horton 

Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr 

Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr  

Marchand-Bergeron-Jagr  

Which player will Boston have the most trouble stopping?

Patrick Sharp

Marian Hossa

Bryan Bickell

Jon Toews 

Patrick Kane 

Over/under: Tyler Seguin scoring one goal in the series?

 Under

 Push

 Over

Over 

Push 

Which Bruin is most likely to score his first goal of the playoffs?

Chris Kelly

Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr

Jaromir Jagr 

Will Nathan Horton play his last game as a Bruin in this series?

 No

No 

 No

No 

No

Which Blackhawk will Bruins fans hate most by series end?

Andrew Shaw 

Bryan Bickell

Dave Bolland

Andrew Shaw 

Andrew Shaw

Should NEHJ have its own duck boat if the B's win?

Got to go with the old-school Bobby Orr era convertibles. 

 Totally. If not, we'll host our own parade.

 Wait, we don't already? Boo!

Absolutely

Of course 


More insight from Kirk and Ty

Why will the Bruins win?

Kirk: They seem to excel in the role as underdogs and they match up well with the Blackhawks. This is Chicago's series to lose and the B's have found their stride at just the right time.

Ty: Despite the run the 'Hawks have been on since this season started, I like the way the Boston Bruins have played since their near disaster against the Leafs in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, and I like them in this series.

How come you picked Rask for the Conn Smythe?

Kirk: Tuukka Rask is having an historic playoff run with that save percentage north of .940. If he keeps it up, he's the favorite to take home the hardware. If one player on Boston can knock him out of the running, it is David Krejci.

Why will the Bergeron line thrive against Chicago?

Ty: While I don't think that it'll be entirely from an offensive point of view, I think this is a series that'll bring the best out of the Bruins' second line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr. While you expect the Bergeron vs. Toews matchup to be an absolute war at the dot, the play of the Boston wingers has been rapidly improving, and could be set to break through on the game's biggest stage, especially when you look at this potentially being the 41-year-old Jagr's last crack at raising Lord Stanley.

You both mentioned Patrick Kane being the obvious choice for who will be tough to defend, so why'd you go with who you picked?

Kirk: Patrick Kane is the most dangerous with his pure speed and skill, but I think Bryan Bickell poses the biggest matchup nightmare for Boston's smaller players on D. Joel Quenneville will likely seek to exploit that physical mismatch.

Ty: With much of the focus coming on the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, I think that it's Patrick Sharp that'll prove to be the real pain for the Bruins. A versatile player with sneaky speed, Sharp enters this series with eight goals and 14 points, while Chicago's 6-0 this postseason when he scores.

Five of the forwards in Boston's lineup are still looking for their first goal of the playoffs. Who breaks through?

Kirk: Jaromir Jagr. Can't imagine he finishes a minimum of 20 games with an 0-fer in the goals column. I keep wondering if he suffering from a Samson effect with the hair. Besides, we gotta see at least one Jagr salute with the spoked B before he moves on.

Ty: It's just a hunch, but with a miserable postseason through three rounds, you have to believe that accountability will come off the stick of the veteran Chris Kelly and into the back of the net at least once in this series. While last year's 20-goal campaign seems to be more of a fluke than anything else, Kelly's ability to create scoring chances has been on the rise, and it only seems like a matter of time before he pots a 'greasy' goal.

Are we about to witness the end of Nathan Horton's tenure as a Bruin?

Ty: I don't believe so. It's clear that the Bruins are going to be tight against the cap -- and even tighter once they get Rask signed to a long-term deal -- but if there's one thing that we've learned through Horton's three-year tenure in Boston, it's that he's just money in the postseason. Now with 15 goals and 34 points in 37 career playoff games, and with Boston making it to the Cup Final in both years where Horton skated as a healthy top-sixer, Horton's value to the B's is just immeasurable at this point. Knowing that, I think you'll see the Bruins use a compliance buyout or perhaps a few trades to make it work and get him back in the fold.

Andrew Shaw seemed to be a common choice for who will drive B's fans batty. Who else has that potential?

Kirk: Going to go with Dave Bolland here. He plays on the edge and is known for late hits. He's talented, too, so like Scott Walker in '09, he could not only enrage with the physical play, but can hurt the B's on the scoreboard as well.

Ultimately, how long will this series go?

Kirk: I like Boston to wrap it up in Game 6 in front of a jubilant TD Garden crowd, though could certainly see 7. Either way, they're a group who has proven they can win on the road and at home.

Ty: They won on the road in 2011, so I think it's time that fans in the Hub see it won in their building. It's not going to be easy, and I see the teams splitting the first four games of this series, but when push comes to shove I think the B's have the pieces and intangibles to get it done in both Game 5 and 6. So, I'll take the Bruins in six games.

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