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Game 6 - 'Hawks at Bruins
Stanley Cup Finals – Game 6

Line: Boston -130; Total set at 4.5

The last time Boston was getting prepared for a game here at home they had a 2-1 lead in the series and a chance to really put the noose around Chicago’s neck. Instead that noose is around Boston’s neck tonight as they trail 3-2 in the Stanley Cup Finals and need a win to avoid watching the Blackhawks celebrate on their own ice. The Bruins have been in this spot before (trailed Vancouver 3-2 in 2011) so there will be minimal panic, but they have to find a way to win or the season is over.

The biggest question for Boston coming into tonight is whether or not C Patrice Bergeron will play. Bergeron left in the 2nd period of Game 5 and was checked out at a hospital for an undisclosed injury but came back to Beantown with his teammates and could very well see the ice tonight. His effectiveness is a different story though and if he does play there is no way he’ll be near 100%.

As the Bruins try to even up this series, Bergeron’s health has an impact up and down the lineup. If he doesn’t play or re-aggravates something early, the shuffling of the lines is a must and that hurts the team’s chemistry. Boston has gotten this far in the playoffs because of tremendous chemistry on all four of their lines and having other guys step up in different roles with the Stanley Cup on the line isn’t exactly an ideal situation. So look for Boston to revert back to that ultra-defensive style we saw them employ successfully against Pittsburgh last round and in Games 2 and 3 of this series. Although they lost 3-1 in Game 5, that’s the style Boston wants to play to have success.

Chicago’s got their superstar center injured (Jonathan Toews) too, so the Blackhawks may have no choice but to play that grinding style as well. With a lead in the series they don’t have to employ that blitzkrieg, pinch-at-every-opportunity style that worked well for them in game 4 here, nor do they have the bodies to keep up with that pace for 60 minutes. There is very little chance we see anywhere near 11 goals scored again like we saw in Game 4 and this game should play out a lot like Game 5 did.

That means that rather than trying to figure out if the Stanley Cup will be raised tonight, going with the total is the better option.

Since the 1st round, eight of Boston’s 10 playoff wins have all come when the total has stayed below 4.5 goals and the Bruins do not want to get in a shootout like Game 4 again. Despite having all the snipers they have, Chicago prefers to play tighter to the vest on the road, going 2-11-2 O/U in their last 15 away from home. With the game’s ultimate prize on the line tonight, the referees will let the players decide it on the ice and not be giving away any cheap power plays either. 4.5 is a rather low total that is very enticing to go over, but I think tonight we see the winner come away with another 3-1 or 2-1 win in a “take no prisoners” type contest.

Take the under.  

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