Bruins look to take lead in Stanley Cup finals on their home ice

The NHL Stanley Cup finals continue Monday with game 3 in Boston. The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins split the first two games of the best of seven series, with both games needing overtime to decide the winner.

This is just the first time since the Stanley Cup Finals of 2004, that the series has been tied at 1-1. Boston now owns home ice advantage, but it was obvious in games 1 and 2 that might not be as important as some believe.

The series has been very even through two games, The Bruins outplayed the Blackhawks in game 1 but lost, and Chicago out played Boston in game 2, but lost.

Between the first two games of the series, the teams have played four overtime periods. The games have featured very physical defense and excellent goaltending on the part of both teams.

Goaltending has been the biggest storyline of the first two games of the series. Each goalie allowed a bad goal or two in game 1 but it was a double deflection that ultimately decided the triple overtime game.

In game 2, the goalies showed how well they could play in net with incredible saves. Tuukka Rask, the Bruins goalie faced 19 shots in just the first period of game 2 and was able to turn away all but one.

One key matchup has been the third lines for both teams. Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien tweaked his third line and that might have been the biggest key to Boston’s game 2 win.

The line was changed to Chris Kelly, Tyler Sequin and Daniel Paille and now features energy, offensive prowess and speed.

Paille scored the game winning goal in overtime in game 2 after his teammates stole the puck in the Chicago zone.

Due to home ice advantage, the Bruins will be allowed to make the last line change and likely will use the third line to put pressure on Chicago.

The good play of the additional line has helped Boston stay sharp and distribute minutes on the ice better.

Chicago needs players such as Michael Frolik, Dave Bolland and Brandon Saad to step up during game 3, to keep up with Boston’s revamped third line.

The Blackhawks will have the best chance to win game 3 if they can get their star players set up in front of the Boston net. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have not had that much success during games 1 and 2 and without their scoring, Chicago will not win many games.

Boston can take advantage of having the last line change and during crunch time late in the game, this will help the Bruins. The Bruins also need to continue their pressure on Chicago over the entire ice.

Fore-checking, clogging up the mid ice and playing strong physical defense are the keys to Boston’s success on defense, and how they can better transition into their offense.

For more betting trends on this matchup and others, click here.

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