Today I asked Second City Hockey's Mike Shoro about how the series is going.
1. Chara was a -3 last game. That's pretty rare. So is the Bruins playing in a 6-5 game. Do you think our guys played poorly or your guys played well or the perfect storm?
Possession numbers indicated the Blackhawks were outplaying the Bruins 5v5 play most of the game so yeah, I'd say the Bruins played poorly and the Hawks played well. I guess you could call it a bit of a perfect storm. It's not often the Bruins find themselves giving up 6 goals in a game and the Blackhawks can't expect to be able to do that again. Chicago was finally able to break through on the power play and they were finally getting the right people to the net. 5 of the 6 goals the Hawks scored on Wednesday were shot within about 15 feet or so of the net. That's both a product of the Blackhawks working their way to the net and the Bruins defensemen letting them get there. As far as Chara being on the ice for 5 goals, I think the whole thing is overblown. He's on the ice for over half the game anyway. Chara didn't have his best game - as he accumulated a -5 Corsi - but it's not like after all of these years of great play the Hawks have finally figured out that physicality is the bane of his existence or whatever they told the press. It seems like Chicago's trying to play head games using the media as the go-between to me. If you want to talk about Bruins defensemen playing poorly, then the conversation needs to start with Andrew Ference, he of the -17 Corsi on Wednesday.
2. Any superstitions you're sticking to or breaking this series?
I'm not a superstitious person by nature but I have done my own hideous version of a playoff "beard" for the first time this year. It's one of those things where I'm doing it solely to be able to say I've done it at least once in my lifetime. I've been tempted to shave it off on more than one occasion this series based on itchiness alone, not even considering aesthetics. Back in late April/early May I thought to myself, "Hey, it'd be pretty neat to be able to say I've grown a playoff beard throughout a Stanley Cup run or something." Two months later and I still can't say I've grown one. My facial hair isn't so much a beard as it is the product of a wild mammal latching itself onto me and dry-humping my face and neck until enough of its hair just permanently stuck. Even if I can grow a fuller beard later in life I can say with plenty of certainty that this is my last go-round with playoff facial hair. I guess the only other "superstitious" thing I've done is wear my Toews jersey on game day throughout the series as opposed to my Hossa one.
3. Is this series going to go 7 games?
The Bruins are a great team and it'd be hard to believe they won't bounce back and play a great game against the Hawks tonight. These are two elite teams who are very evenly matched and I would be shocked if this series doesn't go to seven. While each team has dominated the other at stretches throughout the series, it's pretty hard to say one team has truly outplayed the other. I believe whoever wins game 5 tonight ultimately wins the series because math agrees with that statement. I also believe the Blackhawks will have a tougher time closing this series out than the Bruins solely based on the idea that if the Blackhawks win tonight, they still will have to go back to Boston and try to beat them there, which seems a daunting task. If Boston wins tonight, they get an opportunity to close the series out at home. Since I'm inclined to believe the Hawks will win tonight (they're 10-2 at United Center this postseason) and the Bruins are just as good at home, I think the NBC executives slobbering for a game 7 in Chicago will get their wish.
Thanks again to Mike for answering my questions!