One win away: Hawks subdue Bruins attack in Game 5 - Dallas News |

One win away: Hawks subdue Bruins attack in Game 5

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

With a precision-like defensive performance the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1. With Saturday's victory the Hawks have a perfect 4-0 record in Game 5 matches this post season. The Bruins will try to keep their Stanley Cup hopes alive as they return to home ice for a Monday night tilt.

The Hawks are one win away from capturing their second Stanley Cup since 2010, so there will be comparisons made between the two championship teams.

In 2010 the Hawks had a squad that would wear most opponents out by the middle of the game and then their offense would take charge. That group steamrolled teams into submission. In 2013 the Blackhawks win with a defense first style and they are more surgical-like in the manner they shut down an opponent. This year the Hawks still have strong offense in place but their team defense is very impressive, as the Bruins are realizing.

The current group isn't as physical but they don't wilt. No matter if the Blackhawks come away with the grand prize this time or not, the talk about not being tough enough should stop. As soon as the Chicago forwards put forth a more determined effort to get to the net, goals came more frequently. The Hawks have put pretty plays into the back of the closet and now are making life much more difficult on goaltender Tuukka Rask.

Joel Quenneville has made remarks throughout the playoffs about a balanced attack. Although Patrick Kane was the hero of Game 5 by potting two goals, all four lines played well and contributed to the outcome. The Hawks attacked in five man units, they were not relying on individual effort or long outlet passes to start rushes down the ice. Kane had success by going hard to the net and then using his elite skill to score. If Kane doesn't put forth the extra effort to get to the Bruins goal, neither scoring play happens.

Corey Crawford bounced back with a strong outing as he has done all year. There weren't any "oops" goals past his glove side. Except for times at the beginning of the night and to start the third period, Boston didn't have time to pick where they shot. There was a Blackhawk near every Bruin and it was Chicago who controlled the area between each blueline.

The Hawks will have an opportunity to take the Cup back to Chicago with a Game 6 victory but they may have to do so without Jonathan Toews.

At about the 8-minute mark of the middle frame, Toews caught a wicked jolt from the Bruins Johnny Boychuk. A player has to be fearless to cut across the middle of the ice and head toward the net. That is exactly what Toews did and he paid the price. Toews skated four more shifts in the second period and was on the bench for the final stanza but he didn't see the ice.

As a defenseman, Boychuk was doing his job but he took it a bit too far. Boychuk came in with his arms up and appeared to target the head but there will not be any disciplinary action by the league. At this time of the year in the NHL whistles are swallowed and suspensions are unlikely to be issued. The league has commented and has deemed the Boychuk hit to be fine.

The Bruins have their own injury concerns and it too is a big one.

Patrice Bergeron left the game after skating only two shifts in the middle frame. It was originally reported Bergeron had a back or shoulder injury. Later it was reported he was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation.

That usually means more than a back or shoulder problem. The latest injury reports have Bergeron suffering a suspected spleen injury and if that is the case his season could likely be over. Bergeron is considered by many as the best two-way forward on the Bruins and his loss would be hard felt.

Toews wasn't in the "dark room" or off the bench in the third period being evaluated for a concussion. So Hawk fans are optimistic he didn't sustain a head injury but that could still be the case.

Possibly Toews might have another injury concern, maybe a rib injury or there could be something else wrong. If it isn't another concussion, which is suspected, there could be a good chance Toews will fight on and play in Boston.

Late in the second period, Adam McQuaid cross checked Andrew Shaw directly in the face, and was whistled for a two minute penalty. The league should review that play as well but as with the Boychuk hit on Toews they will not issue a suspension.

The Bruins grew more frustrated as the night wore on and it is obvious some of their players aren't use to getting hit. Shaw was able to stay in the game as he keeps taking a pounding for his team. Shaw has youth and a ton of adrenalin to help him fight on.

Again Dave Bolland played almost identical minutes as Shaw as Quenneville has kept to his script. Bolland was more effective Saturday night but it seems highly likely he is fighting through an injury too. The way Bolland skates from game to game or even shift to shift changes, and it appears he is dealing with a nagging condition. Saturday night he was able to move well enough to help keep the Bruins in check.

Toews was able to assist on both Kane goals before being sat down. Michal Handzus is probably running on empty by now, but he has been able to raise his level of play the past two games. Michal Rozsival must not have much gas left either but has played really well. He has been the Hawks most consistent defender throughout the series. Nick Leddy's playing time has lessened as Quenneville has leaned on Rozsival and a five man rotation.

As unlikely as his return seems, Bergeron will do whatever he can to play in Game 6 as the Bruins can't afford another loss. Without the highly efficient center Boston won only 42% of faceoffs.

My guess is Toews will try to do the same, and will play unless he will further injure himself. The Hawks do have a lead in the series, but it is risky to wait until Game 7 to eliminate the Bruins.

With the way officiating has been throughout the playoffs it shouldn't be relied on, going to a Game 7 means one bad call could lose a team the Cup. Saturday night the diving call on Handzus was ridiculous, and a lot of stick work by the Bruins has gone unnoticed.

Bad ice is often an issue late in the playoffs as is cold weather in the World Series. It is something both teams have to deal with but can also cause a bad bounce which leads to a fluke goal. When going to a Game 7 all factors come into play including luck. If possible the Hawks will want to end their long quest for the Cup in Boston.

Winning the Stanley Cup matters a great a deal to fans of both teams but not as much as it does to the players. It would be a thrill for fans to watch the Hawks skate around the United Center ice with the Cup but ending the series in Boston will be the prime mission of all players.

If Toews can't go on Monday night, Quenneville will rely on a supreme effort from everyone else. That is exactly what the head coach received in Game 5 and what will be needed to bring the Stanley Cup back to Chicago. 

I will be back on Tuesday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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