BOSTON -- It wasn’t the 8-1 pasting they laid on the Vancouver Canucks in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, but the Bruins on Monday decisively won their first home game of these finals, 2-0 over the >Chicago Blackhawks, to take a 2-1 series lead.
The Bruins had the Blackhawks on their heels at a raucous TD Garden from the get-go, despite the first period ending scoreless.
It was the rejiggered third line that got the Black and Gold on the board, Game 2 hero Daniel Paille tallying the first goal of the game at 2:13 in the second period.
Paille also contributed on the second goal, taking a roughing penalty in front of the Blackhawks’ net that briefly gave the Bruins a 5-on-3 advantage. Just seconds after Dave Bolland returned to the ice to make it 5 on 4, Bergeron snuck one past Corey Crawford 14:05 into the second period.
The shots were 36-27 in favor of Boston, and there’s no question the Bruins got the better of the opportunities. If not for some big saves from Crawford, the Bruins could have easily scored four or five goals. The Blackhawks were 0 for 4 on the power play.
With the game already well in hand and about 10 seconds remaining in the third period, things got testy in front of the Bruins’ net, Zdeno Chara and Bryan Bickell getting into it and Brad Marchand and Andrew Shaw throwing down near the left faceoff dot.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask was again outstanding, stopping all 25 shots on net for his third shutout of the Stanley Cup playoffs and first in these finals.
The Game 3 victory bodes well for Boston from a historical perspective. When the Stanley Cup finals have been tied 1-1, the Game 3 winners have gone on to win 21 of 25 series since 1939.
Some quick hits:
Paille and the third line make a difference again: Rask may be a Conn Smythe favorite right now and surely has been the MVP of this Stanley Cup finals thus far. But Paille is right behind him. After scoring the overtime winner to bring the series back to Boston tied at one game apiece, Paille got the scoring going again in Game 3 when he made it 1-0 at 2:13 of the second period. He and his new linemates continued to have success, as Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly got the helpers on Paille’s goal and that line has now accounted for three of the Bruins’ last four goals. It should also be noted that Paille’s hard work led to the tripping penalty on Niklas Hjalmarsson that paved the way for the Bruins' power-play goal.
Rask perfect again: Rask didn’t have as much action as he did in the first two games, with the Blackhawks getting only 27 shots, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t earn his third shutout of the season. Rask was solid throughout, and once again showed he can be ready even when the scoring chances are few and far between. He was huge down the stretch, and his best save probably came on Shaw, the Game 1 overtime hero, during a Blackhawks power play late in the third period.
Seguin and Jagr doing everything but scoring: Seguin and Jaromir Jagr can’t seem to buy a goal right now but they’re doing everything else right. Both players had assists and were constantly creating scoring chances for their teammates and themselves. Seguin finished with three shots and two hits while Jagr had four shots. The 41-year-old Jagr logged 16:38 of ice time.
Special teams helping out: The Bruins' penalty kill continued its amazing run, killing off all five Blackhawks power plays to make it 27 straight penalty kills. Meanwhile, the Bruins power play went 1-for-4, with Bergeron’s power-play tally the lone goal on the man advantage.
Hossa injured in pregame warm-ups and scratched while Chara survives collision with Lucic: Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa suffered an undisclosed injury during warm-ups and was scratched from the lineup as a result. Hossa was replaced by Ben Smith. The Bruins almost lost their own star Slovakian as well, when Chara collided with teammate Milan Lucic. Chara went to the dressing room, received stitches to the back of his head and played the entire game.
Roster remains the same: After some magic line-shuffling with the aforementioned third line in Game 2, it wasn’t a surprise that Julien didn’t change things up for Game 3.