CHICAGO -- Three storylines for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks on Hockey Night in Canada from the United Center on Saturday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
The Blackhawks won the series opener 4-3 in triple overtime on Wednesday. Game 3 is set for Boston at the TD Garden on Monday.
1. Will Bruins first-line right wing Nathan Horton play?
Yes, the 28-year-old Horton declared himself ready to go after the Boston's morning skate. He aggravated a left shoulder injury when he jostled with Blackhawks defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson midway through the first overtime in Wednesday's opener. Horton participated in the Bruins practice on Friday, too.
Horton confirmed he was cleared to play by team doctors and added that he wasn't in pain. He initially hurt his shoulder in a fight with Pittsburgh Penguins newcomer Jarome Iginla on April 20, when he missed the final five games of the regular season.
"He feels really good," Boston head coach Claude Julien said. "He looked really good out there, the last two days. There's absolutely no reason he shouldn't play tonight."
2. How will the Bruins overcome not only the disheartening triple overtime loss, but blowing a two-goal lead in the third period?
It was so uncharacteristic of the Bruins to surrender their third-period 3-1 advantage on Wednesday. It was only the second time in eight occasions that Boston did not close the deal after they held the lead following 40 minutes.
The Bruins were only the third team in NHL history to drop the opener of a Stanley Cup final after they held a two-goal lead in the third period. The Detroit Red Wings succumbed to the same fate against the Montreal Canadiens in 1956 and the Edmonton Oilers also lost a two-goal lead against the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. Both Detroit and Edmonton lost the Stanley Cup final in those years.
Meanwhile, clubs that win Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final have won the Stanley Cup in 55 of 73 years since the best-of-seven format began in 1939. However, the Bruins won their Stanley Cup two years ago after they dropped the first two games in Vancouver.
There hasn't been a split in the first two games of the Stanley Cup final since 2004, when Calgary won the opener on the road in Tampa Bay. The Lightning rebounded to win Game 2 and eventually won that series in seven games.
3. How is Blackhawks stud defenceman Duncan Keith holding up?
Nobody appreciated the two days off between the first two games of the final more than the 29-year-old Keith. He has played a combined 88 minutes and 52 seconds in his past two outings. Keith had three full days off after he played 40:12 in the double-overtime West finale a week ago before he went out and played a game-high 48:40 on Wednesday.
"I love it," Keith said. "It's like being a kid again on the outdoor rink, out there for eight hours a day. I was [exhausted] the next day, but I'm good now."
One of the Blackhawks equipment managers mentioned that Keith hardly sweats. Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville added that his defenceman simply is a well-conditioned athlete.
"His conditioning level is very high end," Quenneville said. "You've been around a lot of hockey players. I think he's one of those different levels, elite status as far as his conditioning. He can sustain big minutes, long shifts, doesn't show the wear and tear over the course, whether it's recovery for another shift or for a long, big-minute game.
"Whether it's in his genes or whatever, he's got a nice makeup and doesn't get fatigued in the course of a game."
Projected lineup for Chicago
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Kane - Michal Handzus - Patrick Sharp
Bryan Bickell - David Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Michael Frolik
Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Nicklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival
Projected lineup for Boston
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jaromir Jagr
Kaspars Daugavins - Rich Peverley - Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille - Chris Kelly - Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference - Johnny Boychuk
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid
Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC
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