Five thoughts from the first period

Five thoughts from the first period
June 12, 2013, 9:15 pm
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CHICAGO – Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins leading the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 after the first 20 minutes of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the United Center.

1)    First coaching mistake of the series is in the books: Joel Quenneville putting Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya on the David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton line isn’t working out. The NHL’s best forward line in these playoffs had chances throughout the period, and had way too much time and space to create plays in the offensive zone. On Boston’s goal, Hjalmarsson went in for a hit on David Krejci behind the net rather than making a play and it set off a tic-tac-toe passing display that ended with Milan Lucic sniping away from the slot. Oduya made the mistake of chasing after Krejci behind the net as well, and Toews left Lucic all alone in front. They’re pretty much unstoppable when they play like this.

2)    Chicago is falling into the same trap that Pittsburgh did. They’re trying to match Boston’s physicality and tough style of play instead of using their speed, skill and offensive abilities to dictate pace and style of play. You wondered if that’s what they had in mind when they played Brandon Bollig instead of Victor Stalberg, and it seems to be playing out that way.
3)    A shaky first couple of shifts for Kaspars Daugavins, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley, but they got rid of the Stanley Cup Finals nerves and came on strong in the second half of the first period. Seguin committing on the fore-check jumping on rebounds in front of the net and hustling at both ends of the ice. Three of Boston’s 11 first period shots came from that line.

4)    Great job by Tuukka Rask in the first 10 minutes of the first period when Chicago tried to storm the Boston net, and had a few chances against a Boston that looked a little slow out of the gate. Rask made a shoulder save on Brandon Saad in front, and managed to be in position if the rebound was shot back in his direction. Eight saves in all for Rask in the first period, and he was matched by Corey Crawford, who looks to be on top of his game as well.  

5)    The Bruins have scored the first goal of the game in five straight playoff games, and haven’t trailed since the first period of a May 25 game against the New York Rangers. The run of dominance they’ve been on over the last few weeks has been nothing short of impressive.