The Bruins improved to 8-2 at home this postseason while the Blackhawks road struggles continued, falling to 3-5 and losing their fourth Game 3 of the playoffs. The Bruins defense played spectacularly, killing five power-plays and keeping the Blackhawks chances at bay.
Much like Game 2, the home team came out flying in the opening minutes. At one point early in the period the Bruins out-shot the Blackhawks 7-2 and had two Grade-A scoring chances in the first third of the period. No chance was better than Patrice Bergeron‘s on the top of the paint. A shot from the point was slowed and Bergeron caught it, turned and curled a wrist shot on net. Instead of opting to lift it he curled it on ice level, making for an easier pad save by Corey Crawford.
The Blackhawks would slowly creep back into the game with some subtle equalizing shifts. The Hawks best early shifts were the product of advantageous matchups. They’d also get the game’s first power-play, midway through the period. The Bruins killed the penalty fairly easily, and had a chance of a 3-on-1 when Kaspars Daugavins exited the box and intercepted a clear. Daugavins couldn’t corral the puck with one-hand and the gaff caused an unforced offsides and ended a promising bid.
The Blackhawks would get another power-play, the weakest in recent memory, when Shawn Thornton was sent off for roughing while delivering a face wash in a post-whistle scrum. The Bruins had three shorthanded opportunities during the kill, the best being a Brad Marchand breakaway where he lost the puck on a deke in tight.
Each team ended the period close in shots but it was pretty clear that the Bruins had the better opportunities, by a considerable margin. The shot gap should have been wider considering the Bruins won 15 out of 17 faceoffs in the first period but the Blackhawks held the fort well.
The Bruins would the game’s first goal when Daniel Paille turned the net and stole a puck off of Dave Bolland and quickly wheeled on net, beating Crawford glove side. Earlier in the play Crawford made a sterling glove save on Tyler Seguin but the Bruins kept cycling and eventually caused the turnover that directly led to the goal. Paille’s goal beat Crawford mid-glove side, a common trend early in the series.
The Bruins followed up the goal with a real nice shift by the second line, the grinding cycle had a fair split of shots and grinding and kept the Blackhawks top defensive pairing pinned in their zone for a minute. The Bruins would get their first power-play opportunity half way through the game when a Chris Kelly net drive forced Dave Bolland to commit a cross-check to disrupt the play. The Bruins didn’t threaten until late on the power-play when Daniel Paille was streaking down the left side and hooked down in a similar fashion to the preceding penalty. The Bruins would make best of their 11-second 5-on-3 power-play. After winning the faceoff the Bruins got set up down low as Bolland exited the box. Jaromir Jagr saucered a pass across the crease. Bergeron did a nice job of securing the pass before he dinged it off the blocker-side post and past a helpless Crawford.
The Bruins would get a cheap power-play of their own in the final minute when Bolland was sent off for tripping during a line change. The Bruins would not score in the first half of the power-play but would take about half of the time to the room with them. The Bruins would squander the rest of the power-play and the Blackhawks would begin to see more consistent chances, most of which came from trailing players. The Bruins would even out play with nice shifts away from their net.
Marcus Kruger would draw a huge tripping call on Adam McQuaid with 12 minutes left in the third period. The Bruins would put together another strong kill, protecting Tuukka Rask well and making ice-long clears off of turnovers. Just as it appeared the Blackhawks were poised to make their run, Dave Bolland was sent off with six minutes left, giving the Bruins a chance to grab a three-goal lead. With time expiring on the penalty Brandon Saad was hooked by David Krejci on what would have been a breakaway to give the Blackhawks a power-play with 4:05 left in the third period.
The Bruins killed the penalty, their fourth kill of the night, and the Blackhawks were forced to pull Crawford with just under two minutes left. Bryan Bickell would nearly cut the lead in half when he dinged the post on a nice rush by Chicago, turning Rask inside out but the puck stayed out of the net. After a scramble ensued Zdeno Chara and Bickell got in a jousting match as did Marchand and Andrew Shaw. Off the scrum the Blackhawks got an 11 second power-play but the Bruins were able to preserve the shutout and go up 2-1 in the series.