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Tonight in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins will go for the jugular. Win this game, and Boston will hold a commanding 3-1 series advantage with just three possible games left to play. Monday night’s game was far from the Blackhawks best shot, and tonight the B’s should expect a much different team. One of the key differences will be the reinsertion of leading scorer Marian Hossa, which should make Chicago more dangerous in the Bruins own end.
Team always have room to improve on a game to game basis, but there isn’t a whole lot to complain about the Bruins effort. When the Blackhawks tried to muck up the end of game three the Bruins justifiably stood their ground, but tonight, there should be little to no reason for any Bruin to take unnecessary penalties. The B’s handed Chicago five powerplays in game three, and eventually you have to figure the Hawks are going to net one.
From the middle of the second period in game number two, the Blackhawks offense has been baffled by Tuukka Rask at every opportunity, and Rask and the Bruins team defense can once again come out strong, then the Bruins have an opportunity to take a giant step toward raising another banner.
Nobody would ever mistake a hockey player for a surgeon, but in game three of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins methodically sliced and diced the Chicago Blackhawks en route to a 2-0 shutout. Hockey is perhaps the most fluid of sports, a fact that that has driven the success of the smooth skating team from the windy city. In Wednesday night’s game however, the Bruins game plan looked like it was designed by Patriots head coach Bill Belicheck circa 2004. Every aspect of the Bruins game was precise and purposeful, and sent a particularly strong message about which of these two titans will dictate the tone for the rest of this series.
The Bruins are only in this fortuitous position as a result of the exemplary play of goalie Tuukka Rask. In the first two games Rask withstood the weight of a Blackhawks crowd spurred by the mad house on Madison.
In game three Rask was just another cog in the machine. His perfunctory play produced another shutout, and with the exception of Hawks near miss in the game’s waning moments, Rask wasn’t challenged as exhaustively as in the series first two tilts.
The Boston Bruins and Tuukka Rask continued their domination at home Monday night. Rask stopped 28 shots as the Bruins shutout the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The win is the Bruins' seventh straight at home.
Right from the opening puck drop, the Bruins were in control. They put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Blackhawks in the first few minutes. However, they were unable to beat Corey Crawford until the second period. Daniel Paille scored his second goal in as many games to start the scoring just 2:13 into the second. With under six minutes left, Patrice Bergeron took a beautiful feed from Jaromir Jagr and beat Crawford on the power play.
The Bruins definitely were feeding off the home crowd and while it didn't manifest itself in the first period, it showed in the second. The Bruins outshot the Blackhawks 15-8 that period and made life especially easy for Rask.
Game 3 also saw the continued success of the Bruins new third line. Paille, Tyler Seguin, and Chris Kelly have given the Bruins the offensive spark that they had been looking for from the bottom six forwards. Both Kelly and Seguin picked up assists on Paille's goal. Their speed and offensive abilities are giving the Blackhawks problems. These three need to continue to play well for the Bruins to win.
Coming into game three of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Bruins are precisely where they want to be. For Boston, the first two games of the series have represented an irony that only exists in the NHL playoffs.
In game one the Bruins were able to match the Blackhawks fast paced style, but came up short in an excruciating triple overtime loss. In that game the Bruins dominated two out of the three overtimes, but after hitting multiple posts (by way of Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr), it was the Blackhawks who managed to get the puck luck necessary to prevail.
After the first period and a half of game two, it looked as though the B’s would be heading back to Boston down two games to none. When the Bruins opened the game devoid of any type of urgency, Chicago poured twenty shots on Tuukka Rask, but only managed to net one goal heading into the third period. Eventually the Bruins forchecking and offense came to life, as the unlikeliest of hero’s emerged in the form of Chris Kelly (who had been pointless in his seventeen playoff games). Kelly’s goal allowed the Bruins to play into overtime where an off-balanced Daniel Paille wristed a Tyler Seguin pass off the post and in to seal a Bruins win.
Watching the first period, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who thought the Boston Bruins had a chance to beat the Chicago Blackhawks after falling behind 1-0. The Blackhawks were completely dominate in the first period, outshooting the Bruins 19-4. But the Bruins, thanks to Tuukka Rask, wouldn't go away. They managed to fight their way back and earn a 2-1 victory in overtime.
After sleep walking through the first period, the Bruins began to wake up in the second period. And it was, in part, due to a line change that Claude Julien made. He put Tyler Seguin, Daniel Paille, and Chris Kelly together and all of a sudden, the Bruins discovered a third line. It was this trio that tied the game midway through the second, with Kelly getting the goal.
It was the same trio that scored the game-winner. After Adam McQuaid held the puck in at the blue line, Seguin found Paille with a beautiful cross ice pass. Paille' shot beat Crawford off the post and in.