This years Stanley Cup finals present an almost unique chance to judge the two conferences based purely on the interactions of the top team from each. With the compressed schedule, and no out of conference play, all of the leagues stats are really skewed by being entirely against fourteen teams with no real long road trips or extended homestands. There’s was simply no way to judge which teams were best even with all the advanced stats, until now.
The Chicago Blackhawks handled the Los Angeles Kings with relative ease in five games. The Boston Bruins ran over the Pittsburgh Penguins in four. Neither team possess much of a powerplay, and both are really solid on the penalty kill. They are the last teams standing. With ten periods of Stanley Cup Final hockey played, standing is probably a little more difficult than anyone would have expected after just two games.
What we know:
We know, the BlackHawks are much faster as a team than their opposite number.
We know the key players of the Bruins are fitter, as evidenced by minute counts than their opposite number.
We know the Blackhawks bottom six won game one.
We know the Bruins bottom six won game two.
We know that despite very similar results on things like the penalty kill, the two teams do things a bit differently with Chicago’s squad using speed to haul the puck out of the zone, and the Bruins using the body to impeded pucks and progress.
We know that despite the vigorous physical play of these two squads, they care capable of playing remarkably disciplined hockey.
Despite the expectations of nearly everyone superpests Andrew Shaw and Brad Marchand have largely been quiet and workmanlike on the ice.
We know that with a combined 47 giveaways through two games, there will be plenty of opportunities for offense, and two unhappy coaches.
We know that with 179 shots on net through two games, the goalies haven’t had to work too hard to stay involved.
We know this is going to be a very memorable Stanley Cup final.