James Hicks III | December 29th, 2018
Notre Dame Stadium is going to be rockin’ on New Year’s Day for the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks. So let’s get a preview of what we should see.
Blackhawks – It has not exactly been the most ideal year, but it looks like things are starting to turn around. Nowadays, you’re seeing a more complete effort from the entire team. In other words, you are seeing the team buy into head coach Jeremy Colliton’s and his system. The Blackhawks have also beat quality opponents including Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, and the Colorado Avalanche. Yes, it helps that Jonathan Toews is having potentially one his best years with 32 points in 39 games. And Patrick Kane is also having a great season as well. Not to mention, Cam Ward and Collin Delia have both been fantastic as of late. Since Corey Crawford went down the Blackhawks have won 4 out of their last 5 games. Also, Don’t look now, the Hawks are only 7 points out of a wildcard spot.
Boston – When Patrice Bergeron got hurt, some thought the Bruins were done. It’s no secret the B’s have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season. But let’s be honest. You’re seeing the big guns step up and play competitively. It’s hard to tell just exactly how much of an impact David Backes‘s 3 game suspension will have on the team. But regardless, he will not play in the classic. Brad Marchand whether you like it or not has played very well this season with 12 goals and 29 assists in 37 games. According, to recent developments, Marchand will not play in Buffalo but could return for the classic Bergeron also has 11 goals and 19 assists in 21 games. As for the goalie situation, Jaroslav Halak is having a bounce-back year at 12-5-2 with a 2.19 GAA
Last meeting: Chicago 3 Boston 1
So now that we have taken a look at some of the players who are small bit players that can make a big difference. For the Blackhawks, some players to look at who potentially may have a big game are; Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Dylan Strome, and possibly even newly called up Dylan Sikura.
For Boston, look at Jake Debrusk who had an assist in his return against the Devils. Or even the Olympian Ryan Donato. While we’re at it here, Zdeno Chara just came back from injury and could provide a boost to the lineup. One wouldn’t have to wonder if David Krejci or David Pastrnak couldn’t be that difference maker.
Let’s take goalies!
Who should start this game? Cam Ward or Collin Delia? Personally, I would let Cam Ward start this game. Nothing against Delia, he has played very well. But, I would like to see a veteran get the start in this one. Let’s not forget, Delia will get the start in the next one in approximately 2 or 3 years from now.
For Boston, you should ride the hot hand and go with Jaroslav Halak. Tuukka Rask is 8-8-2 with a .911 save percentage, and 2.72 goals against average.
The 2 teams will meet on the biggest stage since the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. My prediction is it will be a fantastic game. Blackhawks 4 Bruins 2
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