Boston Bruins vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Tip-off: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Back in 2010 Corey Crawford was in the stands when Patrick Kane slammed home the goal that secured the Stanley Cup for the Chicago Blackhawks.
In 2011, Tuukka Rask was just a practice player when Tim Thomas led the Boston Bruins to the title.
Tonight these teams will meet at the United Center, and Crawford and Rask will be in goal for Game 1 of the Cup finals.
Things haven’t been easy, but that little taste of the Stanley Cup turned into much more for two of the most important players for this NHL series.
YouWager experts believe that the rise of Rask and Crawford is proof of the patience and steady approach of Boston and Chicago, and it’s no coincidence that each team is looking to become the first franchise with two Stanley Cups in the salary cap era.
It’s been slow paced but also steady for both Rask and Crawford who have been the best goaltenders in the NHL during this year’s playoffs.
Crawford leads the league with a 1.74 goals-against average, just ahead of Rask (1.75 GAA).
While the Blackhawks drafted Crawford in the second round in 2003, Rask was a first-round selection for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2005.
The Bruins got him in a trade for goalie Andrew Raycroft in 2006.
The 26 year-old Rask helped Boston finish second in the Northeast Division, then raised his game to another level in the NHL playoffs.
The native of Finland shut down high-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference finals, allowing just two goals and recording a .985 save percentage in a sweep.
The outstanding performance versus Pittsburgh included 53 saves in Game 3, giving Patrice Bergeron enough time to net the winning goal in the second overtime of a 2-1 win.