Blackhawks Report Card: Game 5
Game 5 Report Card: Chicago Blackhawks 3, Boston Bruins 1
Scoring two goals was enough for the Hawks on Saturday, but when they scored them was what made the difference. Taking a 1-0 lead late in the first period and then extending that lead to 2-0 in the second was huge. If the Bruins get their first goal before the Hawks get their second the outcome might be different. The line of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell alone made the grade for the Hawks as they combined for 11 shots on net -- and Toews didn't even play in the third period. An empty-netter by Dave Bolland halted a frantic finish for Boston and sealed the win.
Yes, the Bruins came hard in the third period and scored a goal to cut the lead to one but the Hawks held strong most of the night, especially with Toews and Brent Seabrook hurting late in the game. The Bruins had just 25 shots, 11 below their playoff leading average. Adding to the defense was 17 blocked shots as none of the dangerous offensive stars for the Bruins had a good night. It was a solid defensive effort from start to finish -- minus a few expected minutes during a strong Bruins' push in the third period.
Corey Crawford came close to a shutout, taking a 2-0 lead into the third period before Zdeno Chara blasted one past him. Yes, it went glove side but that's of little concern considering Crawford stopped the other 24 shots that came his way. He wasn't needed to be spectacular, only solid, and performed up to the task after a five-goal game in Game 4.
The grade is as much for the fact that Boston had zero power-play attempts in the game, though the Hawks did struggle with their own man-advantage tries. But with the Hawks suddenly vulnerable killing penalties, staying out of the box served as a kill of its own. The Hawks took two minors and one was a questionable dive by Michal Handzus. But that was offset by Nathan Horton's hooking call on the play while Patrick Sharp was sent to the box at the same time as Johnny Boychuck of the Bruins. That was all the infractions the Hawks would incur. Special teams played no part in the game -- a victory for the home team considering their recent past in that department.