Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Five
Updated: June 10, 2013 12:12AM
As impressive as the Blackhawks’ five-game victory over the defending-champion Los Angeles Kings was, nothing could compare with the way the Boston Bruins dismantled the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins, a four-game sweep in which the star-laden Penguins mustered two goals.
And the Hawks were watching.
“They’re a great team. That’s why they got there,” Hawks center Andrew Shaw said. “That’s why they eliminated some unbelievable teams in the East. We’ve got to stay composed and stick to our game and prepare for war.”
The Hawks were quick to compare the Bruins to the Kings — big, physical and fast. But the Kings, dealing with a mix of fatigue and undisclosed injuries (Dustin Brown revealed he had a torn posterior cruciate ligament, Drew Doughty was on a bum ankle and Justin Williams was dealing with a separated shoulder), never really lived up to the hype.
The Hawks believe the Bruins will. The Bruins have gotten better each round — nearly blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games, dispatching the New York Rangers in five, then sweeping the Penguins. Tuukka Rask had a 0.44 goals-against average in the Eastern Conference Final. As Patrick Sharp put it, “They’re rolling right now pretty good.”
“They’re like the Kings — big guys, good-skating team, smart team, their goalie’s playing unbelievable,” said Marian Hossa, who’ll be playing in his fourth Stanley Cup Final in six seasons. “It’s going to be a battle. The two best teams going at each other.”
Nothing for granted
The Hawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup run was magical and unforgettable. But those who played in that Final can appreciate just how special it is to be back.
“We’re excited to get back there,” Duncan Keith said. “You don’t get back there very often. I just saw on the [TV] ticker there that [the Bruins’ Jaromir] Jagr hadn’t been back in 21 years. These opportunities don’t come back all the time. We want to make the best of it.”
Sharp said it was too early to compare the two seasons, saying “both are satisfying.”
“It’s exciting. We finally got back there,” he said. “For a couple years, it was tough just getting out of the first round.”
This will be the first Original Six matchup in the Stanley Cup Final since 1979 (Rangers-Montreal Canadiens), a fact not lost on Hawks coach Joel Quenneville.
“I think it’s good for the league,” he said. “It’s good for hockey. Two great hockey markets. We’re very excited to be a part of it.”