It’s all in, because it’s Game 3 and both teams have everything to prove.
With the series tied 1-1 following two games in Chicago this past week, it was the Bruins turn to hit home ice. The Blackhawks found a way to win 4-3 in triple overtime during Game 1 with thanks to Andrew Shaw. While Boston’s Daniel Paille put the Bruins in the win column 2-1 in overtime during Game 2. Two equally matched teams, who have put forth amazing strides all season found themselves battling to take a series lead in Game 3.
As to be expected, it’s been a battle of the goaltenders that have made all the difference thus far in the series. Bruins Tuukka Rask and Blackhawks Corey Crawford sit among the best in the league and have carried their teams respectively to this point in the post season. With a combined 179 shots faced between the two goalies in this series alone, they are definitely the players to watch as the Finals skate on.
After a sluggish start for Boston during Game 2, with the cheers of 17,565 behind them, the Bruins took the ice with determination in their strides.
In a somewhat surprising move, Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa was deemed a scratch for Chicago. It was an impressive starting 4 minutes for Boston with continued pressure in their offensive end but Crawford continued to make impressive saves. The pressure was reciprocated by Chicago closely thereafter – with neither team capitalizing in the opening minutes. Chicago was the first on the power play at 9:57 thanks to a roughing call on Bruins Daugavins; which was effectively killed off. Boston again found themselves on the penalty kill at 14:15 on a — from Shawn Thornton; again effectively killed off. The Bruins have now killed off 24 straight penalties.
“You know the penalty killing I think we just went back to our game and they have a lot of talent up there forwards. We know that and I think that’s why we want to try harder,” said Bruins forward Daniel Paille on the success of Boston’s penalty killing. “I think we’ve been able to frustrate them right now, but I remember when we were playing against Toronto the bounces were going in their way and right now we are playing well but we have some good bounces as well so it helps in the game.”
End of the first shots on goal, Boston 11, Chicago 10. The score, 0-0 despite opportunity for both teams.
Game 2’s OT hero Daniel Paille put Boston up 1-0 just 2:13 into the second period, (Kelly, Seguin assists). The goal put Seguin on a three game point streak, with Kelly and Paille running on a two game streak. The goal was a clear momentum changer for the Bruins who followed the goal with an outstanding shift; with particular effort and repeat chances from forward Jaromir Jagr. With the shots on goal almost tied 15-16 at the halfway mark, Chicago looked to make their mark, but found themselves repeatedly shutdown by Rask. The 12:00 minute mark gave Boston their first power play of the night after a cross checking call on Blackhawks Dave Bolland. Chicago found themselves down by 2 men for 11 seconds after a blatant trip by Niklas Hjalmarsson at 13:50. With a 5 on 3 in full effect, it was Patrice Bergeron who found the back of the net at 14:05, giving Boston a 2-0 lead, (Jagr, Chara assists). Bergeron had been nothing short of amazing for his team not only during the regular season, but in the post-season as well.
“Everybody knows how good he is . I’ve never really seen anybody be that not hungry in the defensive zone, and I see a lot of guys hungry in offensive zone,” said Bruins forward Jaromir Jagr while discussing Bergeron. “I think he even like it more than in offensive zone, and he wants to win every battle on the boards and he’s so responsible back there. So, Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] makes it easy for me and Marchy [Brad Marchand].”
Boston looked to make it 3-0 with 1 minute remaining in the period when Chicago’s Bolland hit the penalty box for tripping. They were unable to capitalize, closing out the second up 2-0.
It was the Bruins who continued strong entering the third period, with multiple chances on Blackhawks Crawford. Desperately seeking not one goal, but two Chicago’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, despite claims that they weren’t getting scoring chances. But Bruins goaltender Rask continued to turn away shots from his crease with the help of his defensive unit and saw Chicago’s opportunity from a different angle.
“Well, I think I’ve gotten used to that already during these playoffs. There’s been a lot of games like this that you don’t get quality opportunities, then all of a sudden, there’s four or five of them,” said Bruins Tuukka Rask. “But, I mean, you’re playing the last five minutes of the game, you know they’re going to throw everything at you, what they possibly can. That’s the case. Got the penalty there. Got a little lucky there, one save off my blade and the post. For the most part I think we kept them outside, as Dennis [Seidenberg] said, blocked a lot of shots, took care of the rebounds. That’s always a positive sign in my mind.”
Boston found themselves shorthanded at 7:56 from a tripping penalty on Adam McQuaid but Chicago was unsuccessful, putting the Bruins at 25 straight kills. For the third time of the night, Chicago’s Bolland hit the penalty box at 13:55 for tripping. Bruins Krejci was called for hooking at 15:55 – giving Chicago an much needed power play opportunity. Unable to score, tensions ran high and finally with 11 seconds left in the third period, fists went flying. The Bruins managed to stave off the Blackhawks and take a 2-1 series lead, putting them just two wins away from the ultimate prize.
“I think yes and no,” said Bruins Tyler Seguin on being just two wins away from winning the cup. “I think it’s going to give you even more motivation knowing you’re only two games away, but that being said, you want to stay calm and confident. Stay focused. I think we’re going to enjoy this one tonight and tomorrow is a new day.”
While Bruins rejoiced being one win closer, the Blackhawks kept their composure reminding everyone that the series is still a series and they’re still in it.
“Not at all,” said Blackhawks Niklas Hjalmarsson on whether it was time to worry. “If we win next game we’re back in it and we still have home advantage so you don’t know the importance of next game.”
Home ice for Chicago is still just one game away. It will be a quick turnaround for both teams as Game 4 faces off on Wednesday in Boston. The teams will return to Chicago for a Game 5 contest on Saturday.