Nothing helps the Blackhawks’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup more than Dave Bolland playing like Dave Bolland again.
Bolland had a goal and assist and was plus-2 with 3 hits in more than 28 minutes of playing time in Wednesday’s 4-3 triple overtime win over Boston in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at the United Center.
“That was probably my best game of the playoffs,” Bolland said.
“The thing about Bolly is you always see him step up in big games,” teammate Patrick Kane said. “He had a huge goal to make it 3-2. Obviously helped out on the winner, too. We’ve been accustomed to him showing up in those big games. It was good to see, for sure.”
Bolland missed the entire first round series against Minnesota with a groin injury, but he looks like his old self again. He was promoted to the third line for this series.
“He’s progressively gotten better every game,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “You can just see him have more pace to his game, steadily getting better.”
The last two Stanley Cup winners have struggled on the power play, Boston in 2011 and Los Angeles last season.
The Hawks are 7-for-53 in the playoffs on the power play after going 0-for-3 in Game 1 that included 1:17 of a 5-on-3 opportunity in the second period that fizzled.
“I don’t know if it’s the power plays that are struggling or the penalty killing has been more effective or efficient,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “You look at teams, Boston when they won it, their penalty killing was outstanding.
“Our power play in the last series and Wednesday night hasn’t shown the production that it’s needed or is going to be necessary going forward. We’re still going to have to rely on it at some point to ignite us. We’re disappointed with the 5-on-3 (Wednesday) night.”
“I think you really got to try and keep things simple, not try and do too much out there,” Hawks defenseman Nick Leddy said. “I think during the season we can kind of get away from that at times.”
So why did Joel Quenneville decide to use the defense pair of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya against Boston’s top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton instead of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook?
“You can look at their top two lines,” Quenneville said. “You could argue going into it who was going to get the matchup. All year long those two top pair, you usually see their top two, top two lines. Sometimes on a game to game or matchup to matchup, it can fluctuate. Hammer and Johnny Oduya, they usually could see the other team’s top group.”
Bollig reviews good:
Joel Quenneville thought Brandon Bollig had a real strong game with 9 hits and 3 shots on goal in 14 minutes in Game 1.
“I liked what he brought to the team,” Quenneville said. “I thought defensively he was responsible. I thought he ended up in the offensive zone a lot. Defensively you’re comfortable with him. I thought he was physical. I thought he had a purpose behind his game. He brought what we were looking for.”
Andrew Shaw said he would consider it a compliment if people described his game as irritating.
“It’s what’s got me here,” Shaw said. “I got to stick to it, just compete and work to the best of my abilities.”
Jonathen Toews wouldn’t want to play against Shaw.
“We love having a guy like that on our team,” Toews said. “He’s not afraid. You saw him going up against (Zdeno) Chara. Probably the guy on our team that got up against him the most, hit him. Stirred him up a little bit, drew a penalty, scored a huge goal. He kept going all night and didn’t stop.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.