The drama started before the game even started. During warmups, Chicago’s Marian Hossa skated off the ice and Chicago updated their roster with him as a scratch. Then Boston’s Zdeno Chara skated off after colliding with teammate Milan Lucic. Only one would come back.
Boston’s explosive and near-perfect defense, along with their goalie Tuukka Rask, kept Chicago down without one of their stars. They shut them out 2-0 to grab a 2-1 series lead. It was Rask’s third shutout of the playoffs. After the game, James Mirtle, hockey writer for Canada’s The Globe and Mail tweeted out a few facts about Rask. Since Game 6 of the first round, Rask has allowed 17 goals in equivalent of 14 games played when counting overtimes. That is over 860 minutes of play. His goals against average is 1.18 and save percentage is .960. Rask is only getting better with every game.
Chicago missed Hossa, and they showed it from the very beginning. It meant coach Joel Quenneville had to shake up the lines and none of them clicked. For the first time neither team scored in the first period and that is because Chicago’s goalie Corey Crawford was excellent. He came up huge when the team needed him. Boston gave Chicago two power play opportunities, but both fizzled. During the first one Chicago was only in the zone for 43 seconds of the 2:00 and recorded zero shots. The second one, though, spectators could not tell who owned the power play. Duncan Keith missed a wide open shot, but after that the Bruins kept going maintained pressure in Chicago’s zone and almost scored two goals. In fact, Twitter blew up with people saying Boston was 0-1 on the power play. Chicago eventually settled down and the teams ended the period almost even. Shots were 11-10 Boston and Chicago attempted 20 shots. Boston also won 17 of 22 faceoffs. Patrice Bergeron won 10 of 11.
It was Boston who came out even better in the second period. Daniel Paille, the hero of Game 2, scored the first goal at 2:13 and Patrice Bergeron scored at 14:05 on the power play to make it 2-0. Chicago started playing better, but it was all about their centers. At the end of the second Boston won 29 of 42 faceoffs and Bergeron improved to 19 of 22. Dave Bolland committed two of the three Chicago penalties in the period. Rask was a huge difference maker in the game too. Despite the pressure from Chicago, Rask kept them shut out. He never let anything get to him or lose his cool.
“He’s been focused since Day 1 of the playoffs,” said coach Claude Julien. “I’ve never seen a guy so calm with the way he’s played.”
There was not any scoring in the third period, but Boston still shined. Chicago’s power play was awful in the third period, but this should not shock too many because throughout the playoffs Boston’s penalty kill has been top of the line. Boston now has Chicago 0-10 on the power play in this series. Plus, Boston kept dominating on the faceoffs. Quenneville said faceoffs and power play need work.
“They were basically differentials into the game,” said Quenneville.
Tempers started to flare at the end with 11 seconds left in the game. Bryan Bickell and Chara got into a fight in front of the net and the other players joined in. Brad Marchand and Andrew Shaw got into their own big fight just to the left of Bickell and Chara. Bickell and Chara were given roughing penalties and Marchand and Shaw received major fighting penalties.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews revealed the team knew there was a chance Hossa would not play.
“It’s something we were prepared for all day that he might not play,” said Toews.
Even though they knew this, Quenneville did not have Hossa’s replacement Ben Smith in warmups. He did not tell Smith until after warm ups he would be playing.
“It was a scramble to get ready and get warm,” said Smith.
Quenneville did not go into detail about Hossa’s injury. He said the injury did happen during warmup.
“He’s day-to-day,” said Quenneville. “We’re hopeful he’ll be ready for the next game.”
The next game is Wednesday at 8PM ET on NBC in Boston.