Roughly 13 periods into the Stanley Cup finals between Kane's Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins, and the Hawks have managed just five goals. They trail in the series 2-1 after being blanked 2-0 on Monday night. Game 4 is Wednesday.
Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa (who was injured and did not play in Game 3), Bryan Bickell and Kane are all without a goal.
It is easy to say, then, that for the Hawks to reassert themselves in this series, those players must produce.
What makes the issue more complex and perhaps in the end more compelling is that those players -- specifically Kane -- must find a way to solve the puzzle that is the Bruins' defense.
Read the entire story.
BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has been around long enough to know that what he and his teammates were feeling after their Game 3 loss in the Stanley Cup finals to the Boston Bruins on Monday wasn’t going to last come Tuesday.
“I think we’ve been in the playoffs a number of years together,” Sharp said at TD Garden on Tuesday. “This is my fifth year in Chicago. It feels like the end of the world after the loss, but you wake up the next day and realize it’s a long series and there’s another game to be played. The start of Game 4 we’re not going to be thinking about what happened in Game 3. It’s all about that next game.”
The Blackhawks may be moving on from Game 3 and have repeatedly said they’re not panicking being down 2-1 in the series, but they also admitted Tuesday they were facing a vital Game 4.
“I think we're in a tough spot,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “In the Detroit [Red Wings’ Western Conference semifinals] series, we found a way to get ourselves to get back into it. That's what we're looking for. [Wednesday] is a very important game, like we have to win [Wednesday] night. Come up with a good result, we're right where we want to be.”
BOSTON -- Joel Quenneville held off judgment of Dave Bolland's performance in Game 3 on the Stanley Cup finals on Monday, but a day later the Chicago Blackhawks coach said he expects more from Bolland.
Bolland was whistled for a game-high three penalties, was robbed of the puck in the Blackhawks' zone to set up the Bruins' first goal, won 1-of-8 faceoffs, had one just hit and had a minus-2 rating in the Blackhawks' 2-0 loss on Monday.
"Yeah, one of those nights, rough night," Quenneville said at TD Garden on Tuesday. "Certainly can't take three (penalties). I think you've got to be smarter about it when you do take one, that maybe you put yourself in that spot again. Let's make sure we learn from that."
Bolland had trouble staying out of the penalty box early in the playoffs when he had three multi-penalty games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals, but he had since limited those trips. He was called for two penalties in the last nine games leading up to Game 3 on Monday.
Bolland, who didn't speak to reporters after the game, wasn't sure why he committed three penalties in Game 3 when he spoke with the media on Tuesday.
"Maybe could have been too aggressive," Bolland said. "It's a fast game. You're always moving your feet. You're always trying to get pucks off guys. It's the way things go."
Bolland's Game 3 struggles came after he played his best game of the playoffs in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals. He had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks' 4-3 triple-overtime win over the Bruins in Game 1. It was Bolland's first goal and first multi-point game of the playoffs.
Bolland believes the key to improving his play in Game 4 on Wednesday is being better with his puck possession.
"I think I have to bring a lot more in Game 4, for sure," Bolland said. "I think for myself bringing that puck to the net. What I do with that puck down low is the main thing. It's just not throwing the puck away and just throwing it in front of the net. I think we have that confidence down low, and we have to take the puck to the net."
Olczyk said during Monday's broadcast that Hossa was hit by a puck in pregame warmups, but Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said nothing happened during warmups. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews added to the confusion after the game when he said the team wasn't surprised to learn just before game time that Hossa wouldn't play.
The Hawks turned to Ben Smith, who didn't warm up, to take Hossa's spot just minutes before game time.
"There's all this speculation, the quotes that guys knew there was a chance he wasn't going to play, but I've been around the block a few times, I don't know how you can buy into that with the aspect of knowing that if there was a chance that (Hossa) wasn't going to play you had Sheldon Brookbank and Brandon Bollig taking warmups and then neither one of those guys dresses for the game," Olczyk said Tuesday on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN Chicago 1000.
"To me it was one of those 'OK, we've got to do something right now. We've got to figure this thing out now.' We're not going to find out a lot. Players on both teams right now are taped together just getting out there to play and with Hossa being out, taking warmup and then not playing the game ... to think that the Blackhawks had an idea that he might not play and then all of a sudden play a guy who didn't take warmups that just doesn't make a whole heck of a lot of sense."
Toews said playing without Hossa was "something we were prepared for all day, that he might not play."
"It happens sometimes. You're missing one of your best players and you've got to find a way to play without him. We always say it's an opportunity for the guys to step up. The guys that got more ice time (Monday night) played well. We've just got to find a way to win."
Quenneville said after the game that Hossa has an upper-body injury, and he is hopeful Hossa will be able to play in Game 4 on Wednesday.
Considering the circumstances, Olczyk believes Smith, who finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-1 and had just one shot, played well in Game 3.
"I thought the kid played a good game for a kid that worked his rear end off in practice in the morning, goes back to the hotel like he's done for every single playoff game and the next thing you know at about 7:55 local time he's tapped on the shoulder and told 'You're playing tonight' and he's had no warmup. I thought he played a good game. Did he make some mistakes? Absolutely, but I thought he was one of the top six forwards for the Blackhawks (Monday night)."
BOSTON -- Aside from the score, there wasn't much Chicago Blackhawks forward Ben Smith would change about Monday night.
Smith was living out a dream while playing in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday.
Smith was alerted following the team’s warm-ups Monday night he would be replacing Marian Hossa, who suffered an upper-body injury, in the lineup. Smith hadn’t appeared in the team’s first 19 playoff games this season and had seen action in just the team’s final regular-season game.
After playing 13 shifts and seeing 10:23 of ice time in the Blackhawks’ 2-0 loss to the Bruins on Monday, Smith had his regrets, but overall he was just thrilled to play in first Stanley Cup finals game.
“Obviously, you always want to be better,” said Smith, who had one shot on goal, one giveaway and two blocked shots. “You want to make a bigger impact. But I was just having a blast out there. It was intense. The building, it was a great atmosphere. It was a lot of fun for me. I wish it was a win for us.”
The Blackhawks wasted all five of their power-play chances in Game 3 and extended their goal-less streak to 20 consecutive power plays, including all 11 in the finals.
BOSTON -- Listen to Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews for any amount of time, and there is an almost perpetual calm about them.
Win or lose, up in a playoff series or down, struggling to find the back of the net or operating at an almost otherworldly level, it would be difficult to tell which player represented which state.
Maybe that’s why both have won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best two-way forward the past two seasons.
Maybe that’s why both represent both the heartbeat of their respective teams, their teams' conscience, as it were.
For instance, anyone imagining that Toews, the Chicago Blackhawks' captain, might have been rattled or visibly disappointed at the team’s 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night would have been disappointed.
"We know we’ve got to be better in the next one,” Toews told a gaggle of reporters gathered around his stall in the Blackhawks’ sweltering postgame dressing room. "And find ways to score, get that confidence in that game back. I don’t think we’re discouraged or frustrated at all having said that."
Anyone looking for self-loathing from a man who has scored but one goal in the postseason would likewise be disappointed despite the fact it must be eating away at Toews not to be doing more offensively to help his team.
Regardless of his struggles offensively, Toews remains the kind of player who does not cheat, does not take shortcuts.
On Monday, with Marian Hossa unable to play thanks to an upper-body injury, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville juggled his lines and moved Toews onto a line with Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger, who normally fulfill fourth-line duties for the Blackhawks, for the early part of the game.
Was the captain surprised that he did not warrant more skilled linemates?
"No. It’s always good to shake things up a little bit,” Toews said. "You might get a little chemistry. And for myself playing against [David] Krejci’s line for the most part with Kruger and Frolik at the start of the game, I think we did a good job and kept them in their end for the most part. We just got to find a way to score."
He certainly did his part.
He led all Blackhawks with five shots on goal. He made offensive plays that could not be finished by teammates. And he kept his talented Bruins counterparts off the scoresheet.
"Part of your job is to keep them off the scoresheet and the other half of your job is to find ways to score big goals for your team. Did one thing, got to do the other," Toews said.
Down the hallway, in a similarly overheated Bruins room, Bergeron’s calmness in the face of a crucial final-series victory belied his significant role in his team’s success.
Where Toews has yet to be rewarded for his diligence, Bergeron’s diligence continues to be a catalyst to the Bruins’ methodical, and what now seems inexorable, march to a second Stanley Cup win in three years.
Bergeron won an incredible 24 of 28 faceoffs Monday night while Toews won only eight of 19.
Bergeron also led all skaters on either team with seven shots.
"Especially against a team like Chicago, you’ve got to go hard every shift,” Bergeron said. "You can’t take a shift off. Our start was something we talked about, and carried that on into the second and third periods as well. I thought we did a decent job. Obviously, it wasn’t perfect by any means, but at this point of the year you’ve got to take the wins and move on and focus on the next game."
Bergeron was, as always, a key defender both five-on-five and on the penalty kill. On this night, the Bruins killed off all five Chicago power plays and now have denied the Blackhawks on 11 straight man-advantage opportunities in the finals. Throw in the 15 straight against Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals and one late in the second round, and the Bruins have denied opponents on 27 straight power plays.
When the game was over, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville pointed to the power play and the lopsided losses in the faceoff circle (they won only 16 of 56 draws) as the key moments in the loss.
"Those were basically the differentials in the game," Quenneville said.
In the second period, with the Bruins holding a 1-0 lead, it was Bergeron who delivered the knockout blow by snapping home a delightful Jaromir Jagr feed on the power play.
Still, Bergeron is one of those rare players -- like any Selke winner, frankly -- who thrives on either side of the puck, relishes the moments of defensive strength as much as offensive prowess.
"I take pride in it. I take pride in both sides,” Bergeron said. "Don’t get me wrong here, I love to be in the offensive zone, but yeah, it is about doing the job there and don’t spend too much time [so] we go on the attack."
On the eve of these Stanley Cup finals, Toews denied Bergeron what would have been his second straight Selke Trophy, edging him out by a scant 10 voting points.
It was an award that quickly became swallowed by the drama that has been this final series.
But as the Bruins look to extend their domination at home in the playoffs -- they have now won seven straight at home -- the battle between these two great players and leaders has become at the moment distinctly one-sided.
If the Blackhawks are going to get back in this series, it seems undeniable that Toews will have to alter that equation.
Given the way Bergeron is playing, we’re not entirely sure it can be done.
BOSTON -- The preamble to this year’s Stanley Cup finals was about two contrasting styles: the heavy, punishing Boston Bruins versus the speedy Chicago Blackhawks.
Both teams have loads of skill, but there’s no denying how differently they play the game.
And so the question was whether the Blackhawks’ more aesthetically pleasing brand of hockey would be able to overcome what is clearly the recipe of success in the NHL in the past few years (Boston in 2011, L.A. in 2012), Boston’s disciplined, grinding, physical two-way hockey that is rolling into high gear through three games of the Cup finals.
The score was only 2-0 Monday night in Game 3 at a rocking TD Garden, but the ice was way more tilted than that, with the Bruins owning the puck, forcing turnovers and looking like a team that has created a bit of separation in what otherwise had been such a close series in Chicago in the opening two games.
Don’t fool yourself, this was a no-doubt Bruins victory Monday night.
It might not have been the 8-1 drubbing Boston dropped on Vancouver when the series shifted here in 2011 for Game 3, but there was that similar feeling at TD Garden, the feeling that the visiting team was hanging on all night.
It certainly didn’t help that the Hawks were without star winger Marian Hossa, who took warm-up but then surprised everyone when he was pulled out before game time with an upper-body injury.
"It’s something we were prepared for all day that he might not play," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "It happens sometimes: You’re missing one of your best players, and you’ve got to find a way to play without him. We always say it’s an opportunity for the guys to step up. The guys that got more ice time tonight played well. We’ve just got to find a way to win."
Nobody in the Blackhawks' dressing room was using Hossa’s absence as an excuse, but the reality is that, especially when it comes to road games, Chicago desperately missed the Slovak star’s ability to protect the puck and force offensive chances with the strength he has going to the net.
"We were prepared," Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp said of playing without Hossa. "We have a good, deep team in here. It’s tough when you lose a top guy like that, but we have plenty of guys to fill in. We’re not going to worry about it."
Was it really just a game ago that the Hawks blitzed the Bruins in the opening period of Game 2 with a speed game that left Boston dazed and confused -- and outshot 19-4?
Since then, none of that.
"I thought our third period tonight was pretty strong," Sharp said. "We started getting back to our speed and attack game. We had plenty of chances. They protect their net well. They scored a power-play goal, and we didn’t."
Oy, the power play. Just when you think the Hawks have hit the bottom of the barrel with a power play that doesn’t seem to have a clue, Monday night provides more wreckage.
Chicago went 0-for-5 and rarely looked dangerous, and the Hawks looked confused on zone entries and, once in the Bruins’ zone, were too stationary.
Roughing penalties to Bruins wingers Kaspars Daugavins and later Shawn Thornton, both in the opening period, provided Chicago the golden opportunity to open the scoring, a first goal that would have done so much for the visitors' confidence while also taking the crowd out of the game for a bit.
Instead, the fans got even louder as the Bruins got the best scoring chances on those Hawks power plays, as deflating a feeling as can be for Chicago.
You don’t need to score a lot of power-play goals to win a Cup, as I documented last week. But you do need to score the odd goal and create at least some chances on your man advantage when you don’t score. None of that is happening for the Hawks right now.
Sharp was asked whether he could put his finger on the power-play issues.
"If I could, we’d probably be scoring," Sharp said. "We didn’t score, but we had a few chances. We’re in the Stanley Cup finals. We’re not going to hang our heads about it. We’re going to continue to work and find a way to make it productive."
And it just so happens that Patrice Bergeron’s power-play goal 14:05 into the second period was the dagger, capping a 2-0 win that now pushes Chicago into a must win Wednesday night to avoid a 3-1 deficit.
For that W to happen, Chicago’s big boys have to step up. Toews worked his butt off Monday night and created a number of decent chances, but the bottom line is that he remains without a goal in the series. He needs to find the score sheet. Patrick Kane was nearly invisible, unable (unwilling?) to break through Boston’s physical coverage to create space for himself. Sharp had his moments but looked frustrated at other times. Bryan Bickell, who rocked the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals, has gone completely silent in the Cup series.
The Hawks are a dangerous team when they have the puck. Losing a whopping 71 percent of the faceoffs to Boston on Monday night is one way to make sure you never start a shift with the puck.
"You can talk about that and our power play," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said when asked about his team’s 29 percent faceoff success. "Those were basically the differentials in the game."
We’ll find out a lot about these Blackhawks in Game 4. Just like we did about the Canucks two years ago, with Vancouver responding to an 8-1 loss with a listless 4-0 defeat in Game 4.
Chicago’s season is essentially on the line Wednesday.
Will that speed game and swagger return?
"The series isn’t over, but we have to be better for Game 4," Sharp said. "I don’t doubt the character of our team. We’ll bounce back and be better."
Coming back from a 3-1 series deficit versus Detroit in the second round hardened the Hawks. Now they have to tap into that experience.
"We’ve been through some tough situations," star blueliner Duncan Keith said. "But we know we have to have our best game of the year next game."
Less than a week later, Game 3 may have been his worst.
Bolland was whistled for a game-high three penalties, was robbed of the puck in the Hawks' zone to set up Boston's first goal, won 1-of-8 faceoffs, had one just hit and had a minus-2 rating in the Blackhawks' 2-0 loss.
Bolland's first penalty, a cross-checking call, gave the Bruins their first power play of the game at 12:00 of the second period. With 11 seconds left on Bolland's penalty, Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent to the box for tripping. The Blackhawks killed off the 5-on-3 opportunity, but Bolland was unable to return to the defensive zone before the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron scored to put the Bruins ahead 2-0.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't comment on Bolland specifically after the loss, but he thought the power-play goal was costly.
"Haven't talked to him yet," Quenneville said of Bolland. "We'll reassess and reevaluate the game. Certainly I liked our first [period.] Didn't mind our third [period.] Lost a lot of momentum on their first goal. Five-on-three situation was something, that was the game. We got to make sure that every play is critical, every shift is important, value being out there and doing the right thing. Managing the puck is kind of what we're talking about on those situations."
Bolland had accumulated a number of penalties early in the playoffs, but he had done a better job in that area as of late. Monday marked his first multi-penalty games since compiling three multi-penalty games against the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals. He has nine penalties and 18 penalty minutes in 14 playoff games.
Bolland missed the opening round due to a lower-body injury.
Quenneville had praised Bolland's play after Game 1 when Bolland had a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks' 4-3 triple-overtime win. It was Bolland's first goal and his first multi-point game of the playoffs. Bolland was also a factor late in the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings with a few key hits.
Bolland was requested by the media after the game, but he was not made available before the locker room was closed.
Game 3 Report Card: Boston Bruins 2, Chicago Blackhawks 0
Since the power play includes offense, the grade fits. You could count on one hand the dangerous chances the Hawks had. Duncan Keith probably had one of the best of the night, moving in close on Tuukka Rask early in the game but he chose to pass instead of shoot. It was that kind of night for the Hawks, who seemingly never overcame the loss of Marian Hossa. The offensive lines looked out of sync all night and Hawks coach Joel Quenneville will undoubtedly go back to the drawing board between games, especially if Hossa is out for Game 4. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp missed the net one too many times.
The defense played fine, neither distinguishing itself in a good or bad way. Michal Rozsival threw a blind pass around the boards in the Hawks' zone, which led to the scoring sequence on the Bruins' first goal, but it wasn't an awful turnover. The second goal came on the continuation of a five-on-three power play and there wasn't much Brent Seabrook could do after Jaromir Jagr made a perfect door-step pass to Patrice Bergeron. But that's all the Bruins would get on the night as the Hawks limited Boston to a manageable amount of good scoring chances, at least during five-on-five play.
Corey Crawford did all that he could, once again getting little help in front of him. The power-play goal came after a picture-perfect pass from Jagr, and Daniel Paille's tally to open the scoring was a good shot off a broken play by the Hawks as they tried to clear the zone. Crawford stopped 33, playing an overall decent game.
The Hawks' power play was brutal once again, getting just four shots on net in 8:11 of man-advantage time. The Bruins added insult to injury getting a power play goal of their own, making it 2-0. The Hawks have had no answers this entire series or postseason when on the power play. In fact it has taken momentum away more than it has given them a boost. Boston had better scoring chances on the Hawks' power play than the Hawks did. That says it all.
BOSTON -- Here's a quick look at the Boston Bruins' 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals at TD Garden on Monday.
How it happened: The Bruins carried the momentum of winning Game 2 and came out flying at home. The Bruins weren't able to capitalize on their play in the first period, but they finally broke through in the second period. Daniel Paille continued his hot streak and scored at 2:14 of the second period to give Boston a 1-0 lead. The Bruins pushed the score to 2-0 when Patrice Bergeron netted a shot on a power play at 14:15 of the second period. The Bruins' defense and goaltender Tuukka Rask took care of the rest. Rask made 28 saves and recorded his third shutout of the playoffs. The Bruins killed off four Blackhawks' power plays. The Blackhawks haven't scored on their last 19 power plays and are 0-for-10 in the series. The Bruins have killed off 26 consecutive power plays. The Bruins also dominated the dot in Game 3, winning 39-of-56 faceoffs. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had 33 saves. The Blackhawks dealt with some pregame adversity when forward Marian Hossa was scratched after the team's warm-ups and was replaced by Ben Smith. Smith appeared in one regular-season this season.
Player of the game: Bergeron came through with the goal, but he was also 23-5 on faceoffs and had seven shots on goal.
What it means: The Bruins take a 2-1 series advantage. With the win, the Bruins went 4-0 in Game 3s in the playoff this season. On the other hand, the Blackhawks fell to 0-4 in Game 3s. The extent of Hossa's injury was unknown during the game. To lose him for an extended period could be costly for the Blackhawks. He's used in every role and is tied for a team-high 15 playoff points.
What's next: The series remains in Boston for Game 4 on Wednesday. The Bruins are 7-2 at TD Garden in the playoffs this season. The Blackhawks are 3-5 on the road.
Read the entire story.