Grading the Blackhawks in Game 1

Hawks’ even-strength attack vs. Bruins’ defense

Big hits by the Hawks’ fourth line comprised of Brandon Bollig, Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik during the opening minutes of Game 1 showed the Hawks weren’t going to let the Bruins push them around. However, the Hawks were, at times, too eager to deliver the bone-crushing hits. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson’s decision to try and go for the big hit behind the Hawk’s net set up Boston’s first goal by Milan Lucic who was left wide open in the front of the net.

Blackhawks Grade: B

Bruins Grade: B+

Bruins’ even-strength attack vs. Hawks’ defense

Boston utilized smart passes and found the open lanes in the Hawks’ defense, which enabled them to strike first. Milan Lucic accounted for two goals and he had a knack for finding space within the Hawks’ defense. Boston kept the pressure on the Hawks even after blowing the lead and had quality chances in the final minutes of regulation.

Blackhawks Grade: C+

Bruins Grade: B-

Hawks’ power play vs. Bruins’ penalty kill

The Hawks’ had a great opportunity eight minutes into the second period, earning a 5-on-3 power play opportunity for 1 minute, 17 seconds thanks to the Bruins getting whistled for too many men on the ice after an interference penalty. But the Hawks’ passive power play unit was on display again, opting to pass the puck around instead of attacking the net. Trailing by one goal with a two-man advantage, the Hawks failed to generate a shot on net. Championship teams take advantage of that opportunity. Ultimately the Hawks went 0 for 3 on the power play – all of which came in the second period – and finished with two shots.

Blackhawks Grade: F

Bruins Grade: A

Bruins’ power play vs. Hawks’ penalty kill

The Bruins gave the Hawks a tutorial on how to run a power play. They scored on their first shot during their first power play of the game six minutes into the third period. Patrice Bergeron’s one-timer blew past Crawford. The Hawks entered the game having killed 94.5 percent of opponent’s chances.

Blackhawks Grade: D-

Bruins Grade: A-

Hawks goaltending

Crawford kept the Hawks in the game and prevented the Bruins from potentially putting away the game. He had no chance to stop two of Boston’s three games, but his poise in the crease shut down close-range chances for the Bruins particularly late in the third. Crawford’s glove save on Brad Marchand in the first period energized the crowd.

Blackhawks Grade: A-

Bruins goaltending

All Rask needed to do was keep the puck in front of him with the Bruins nursing a two-goal lead in the third period. He failed. Rask left himself susceptible to a bad goal with too many rebounds bouncing in front of the net, but the Hawks couldn’t capitalize.

Bruins Grade: B+


Hawks coach Joel Quenneville’s decision to put Bollig in the lineup over speedy forward Viktor Stalberg paid off. Bollig provided the physicality Quenneville was looking for. Quenneville also wasn’t afraid to switch up the lines during the game. Mixing up the top lines didn’t adversely affect the Hawks’ offense. It didn't seem like Boston coach Claude Julien had answers for the adjustments.

Blackhawks Grade: B+

Bruins Grade: C

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