Two teams playing great collide in Finals
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The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate winning the NHL Western Conference Championship at the United Center in Chicago.
John Starks | Staff Photographer
Q. So, what is this series? Big and bad against fast and skilled?
A. It's the two teams that are playing the best hockey right now and each has its own unique style.
It's the big, bad Bruins who are playing great defensively, but they have the leading scorers in the playoffs, too, so they have great offensive players as well. And the Blackhawks, who after a slow start, have awakened to their potential.
They're both coming off hard-fought series. You didn't expect Boston to win in four and you didn't expect the Blackhawks to win in five. These are two teams that are playing great and are getting contributions top to bottom.
Q. L.A. was supposed to be the same style team — big and bruising — as the Bruins. Can the Hawks handle Boston the same way they handled L.A.?
A. If you look at it like that, you hope that is the situation. But you also look at Pittsburgh, with all their offensive weapons, they were supposed to be able to succeed against the Bruins. But Boston played a great series. It was a stunner for that series to end like it did.
But that is the matchup: can the Blackhawks' speed and transition game find a way to score goals on a Boston team that defends well and has great goaltending?
Q. Are the Hawks as confident as they've been all season?
A. If you look at the way this postseason has progressed — starting off slowly against Minnesota, and then obviously the wake-up call was the position they were in against Detroit (down 3-1). One break, one bad call ... and the Blackhawks would be done.
You have to get some breaks in the playoffs and you have to, in some ways, have turning points. You look at what happened in Boston's series against Toronto. They weren't playing their best hockey and they were that close to being out of the postseason.
Both teams found a way to dig deep and overcome adversity in those series and they're here because they have great players with a lot of character.
Q. Other than the battle of goalies, what's the one matchup that intrigues you most?
A. The obvious one that sticks out is: who is Zdeno Chara going to play against and how successful can you be against, in my opinion, the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL?
That pairing with Chara and Dennis Seidenberg is tremendous.
Where is Boston going to try and match up Chara?
If you can get the secondary stars to score against a different matchup other than Chara, that could be the series.
•Troy Murray is in his 13th year as a member of the Blackhawks broadcast team and his eighth year as the color analyst for the team's radio broadcasts. The Selke Award winner was a five-time 20-goal scorer and a veteran of 15 years in the NHL, playing in 915 career games.
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