Five things learned in the Boston Bruins’ win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night:
Tuukka Rask is proving the Bruins right for putting their faith in him. Rask watched the Bruins’ entire 2011 Stanley Cup run from the bench while Tim Thomas led Boston to the NHL title, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in the process. But after the enigmatic Thomas decided to take a year off from playing there’s been no drop-off. Rask’s numbers this postseason are even better than Thomas’ were two years ago: 14-5 with a .946 save percentage and a 1.64 goals-against average. (Thomas was 16-9, .940, 1.98). Rask had 28 saves Monday night to post his third shutout of the playoffs and extend his shutout streak to more than 122 minutes. He’s the biggest reason the Bruins are ahead 2-1 in the series.
The revamped third line of Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin paid off for the second straight game. Boston coach Claude Julien bumped Paille up from the fourth line in Game 2 and he ended up scoring the winner in overtime. Kelly scored Boston’s other goal in the 2-1 win and assisted on Paille’s goal Monday that put the Bruins up 1-0. “I think we are just putting pucks on net and reading plays,” Paille said. “I think we are managing the puck a little bit better. Just on my goal, you saw Kells go in, and I went in and then I shot. I think we are just not giving them enough time to think with the puck.”
Patrice Bergeron won 24 faceoffs on Monday night. That’s eight more than Chicago won as a team, and nobody had a worse night in the circle for the Blackhawks than Michal Handzus, who was a perfect 0-for-10 for a Bluto-like average of 0.00. “That’s definitely something that we take a lot of pride in and we talk about a lot.” Bergeron said.
Dave’s not here
Chicago defenseman Dave Bolland had a rough night. He was called for three of Chicago’s six penalties and made two mistakes that helped lead to Boston’s two goals. The first was a turnover that led to Paille’s goal 2:13 into the second period. The second was cross-checking Kelly into the net and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford with 8:00 left in the second. A second Chicago penalty led to a brief 5-on-3 for Boston. Bolland was out of the penalty box, but didn’t have time to get back into the play before Bergeron put Boston up 2-0 with 5:55 left in the second.
History no help
The Chicago Blackhawks trailed the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the Western Conference finals then won the next three games. So a 2-1 deficit against the Boston Bruins certainly isn’t too big to overcome. It’s just that one comeback may not be the same as another. “I think they’re a little bit different team than Detroit was,” Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford said of the Bruins. “They’re able to sit back and wait for us to collapse defensively. ”