The Boston Bruins know all about how difficult it is too slow down the Chicago Blackhawks’ offensive firepower. Chicago’s ability to fill up the net ended up playing a major role in the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win over the B’s last June.
The two teams will meet for the first time since that series on Sunday with the Bruins in Chicago. The key to success, once again, will be to slow the Hawks’ top-end offensive talent.
Patrick Kane has been fantastic this season for Chicago. The reigning Conn Smythe winner leads the team with 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists), which ranks him third in the NHL. He’s far from alone in that offensive success, though, with five Blackhawks entering Sunday’s game with at least 41 points. To put that in perspective, the Bruins’ points leader is David Krejci — with 38 points.
If there’s one place the Bruins could take advantage of, however, it’s on the power play. The Chicago penalty kill enters the day ranked 29th in the league, killing off just 76.7 percent of its shorthanded opportunties. The Bruins snapped an 0-for-18 skid Thursday in Dallas when Milan Lucic scored a power-play goal.
Below are the projected lines for Sunday’s Bruins-Blackhawks game.
Bruins (30-15-2, 62 points)
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Reilly Smith
Carl Soderberg — Ryan Spooner — Loui Eriksson
Zdeno Chara — Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug — Adam McQuaid
Matt Bartkowski — Kevan Miller
Blackhawks (31-8-11, 73 points)
Patrick sharp — Jonathan Toews — Marian Hossa
Brandon Saad — Andrew Shaw — Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell — Michal Handzus — Kris Versteeg
Brandon Bollig — Marcus Kruger — Ben Smith
Duncan Keith — Brent Seabrook
Niklas Hjalmarsson — Johnny Oduya
Nick Leddy — Michal Rozsival