The Blackhawks got the win. They won the battle in Game 5 but did they lose the war?
A brilliant and defensive Game 5 will fade into the background as the injury report takes center stage. Both teams suffered a key injury in Game 5 to a Selke winner.
The Bruins lost Patrice Bergeron to an injury early in the second period to an unspecified injury. On a four on four, Bergeron went into the boards as he readied to deliver a check. Bergeron pulled up and struggled to move.
After skating to the bench, Bergeron was not seen for the rest of the game. Bergeron played 6:06 in Game 5 and was taken to a local hospital by ambulance for observation. Coach Claude Julien said that Bergeron has a body injury.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost Jonathan Toews to injury in between the second and third periods. Toews took several hard hits including one from Johnny Boychuk who hit Toews in the head although it was legal. It appeared that Toews hit his head on the ice as he fell on the hit.
Toews came out for the third period but he was not allowed off of the bench. So Toews night was over as he played 12:56. It is unknown what Toews injury as well as it has only been labeled an upper body injury. It could be a concussion or it could be something else.
Even without knowing the result last night, the nature of the game changed. Both players are crucial for their teams and have been playing well lately. Bergeron scored 3 goals in the Games 3 and 4 in Boston which leaves him with 4 total in the Stanley Cup Final. Bergeron has 9 goals and 6 assists in the playoffs this year.
Recently Toews had been playing really well and seemed to be getting out of his playoff long funk. Toews recorded one goal and two assists in Games 4 and 5 after being stuck on one goal since Game 5 of the Detroit series. While Toews hasn’t been scoring he has been just as valuable to the Blackhawks as Bergeron has been to the Bruins.
Bergeron has been sensational in the faceoff circle as he has won 89 of 139 faceoffs that he has taken for a 64 percent win percentage during the Final. Meanwhile Toews has won 66 of 127 faceoffs that he has taken which is good for a 52 percent win percentage.
Both guys are similar as they are very good defensive centers and their teams number one faceoff men. They are asked to kill penalties and be involved in all aspects of the game. Besides the offense, the loss of both players is a turning point in the Final.
But are both players out for Game 6? That remains to be seen as both players status won’t be updated until Monday morning. Even then there may not be clarity to this situation until right before puck drop. Knowing both players they will play if they can even if not at full strength.
Boston would be able to handle a loss of Bergeron better than the Blackhawks could handle a loss of Toews. Without Bergeron, the Bruins would still have David Krecji, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to fill the gap. Krejci leads all players with 25 points so far in the playoffs.
But the Blackhawks don’t have anybody who could step up to fill the void. Michal Handzus is a nice number two but he went 0 for 10 in the faceoff circle in Game 3. Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw are nice but they aren’t number one center material. The Blackhawks don’t have that center who can step up into the number one role. They were fortunate to be able to hold on for the win last night but they would be in big trouble if they would have to play a whole game without the captain. All four of the other centers struggle in the faceoff circle and have been below 50 percent in the playoffs.
This series has been back and forth the whole time. Every time it seems that the series is figured out, there is another twist. The injuries on Saturday were just the latest twist. The Blackhawks won the battle in Game 5 but will that battle cost them the prize they covet at the end?