A win by the Blackhawks ends the series. A Boston victory sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 back in Chicago.
Game 6 is likely to play out as the first five games between these two teams. The Bruins will look to neutralize Chicago's speed. The 'Hawks will need to withstand the physical pounding Boston is sure to administer.
The spoils of this battle is the front of the net on both ends of the ice. Both teams have shown that they can score if they get the space close to the crease. As has been the case throughout the series, the team that can control this vital area probably comes out on top Monday.
Then again, with three overtime contests so far in the series, it could all come down to a single faceoff. A converted power play. Maybe just a fortunate bounce of the puck. On the other hand, Game 6 may also hinge on health.
Selke Trophy nominees Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron both missed significant portions of Chicago's Game 5 win with injuries. Players on both sides are surely nursing a postseason's worth of hurts, but the status of Toews and Bergeron will factor heavily in what happens Monday night.
Toews skated Monday morning with the team and has declared himself at 100 percent in Scott Powers' ESPNChicago.com blog. Having a healthy captain will continue to make linemates Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell thorns in the sides of the Bruins.
As for Bergeron, he skipped his team's morning workout. However, coach Claude Julien told ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy that he is "confident" that Bergeron will be on the ice when the puck is dropped.
Bergeron will skate in warm-ups, according to Julien. Whether the Bruins' coach is bluffing to create some doubt for 'Hawks coach Joel Quenneville or not is anyone's guess.
Bergeron's appearance at the TD Garden will provide a boost to his teammates. His presence at the dot would increase Boston's chances for sure.
Chicago has won the last two games in part to more success inside the faceoff circles. The play of their top line has also swung the series in its favor.
The 'Hawks need to shake off what should be an emotional opening to Game 6. Boston will undoubtedly come out looking to take control early. That shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. These games have been fast and furious in the opening 20 minutes.
Expect another nail-biter regardless of how Toews and Bergeron are able to contribute. Don't be surprised if either player comes up with the difference maker Monday night.
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