Hang on a second, games can be won in regulation, too? At least, that’s the feeling you have to get after two straight overtime thrillers. The Boston Bruins decided to let everyone get a little extra rest tonight, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 in regulation.
Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals sure wasn’t as evenly paced as the last two bouts, and now all it’ll take is two more wins for another Cup to be heading to Boston. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest talking points from this game.
First of all, the Bruins seemingly owned this game from wire to wire. Yes, there were flurries brought on by the Blackhawks. However, as the night went on, Boston proceeded to take Chicago out of the game. Chances decreased, the ice tilted and before you knew it the Blackhawks had given up their edge in the series.
The most mind-blowing stat from all of this; with tonight’s win, the Bruins are now 11-0-2 in their last 13 playoff games. They haven’t lost in regulation since May 12.
Not helping matters for Chicago was the absolutely suffocating display put on by Boston’s penalty kill. No, the Blackhawks haven’t scored a power play goal in what seems like forever. But a roster this talented is not one to let your guard down against. And still, Boston gave them zero opportunities on the man advantage.
May 25, 2013. That’s the last time the Bruins penalty kill let up a goal. Even more shocking is that it came against the New York Rangers, a power play unit not nearly as daunting as the Blackhawks’ or the Pittsburgh Penguins. The talent gets better, the Bruins play tougher. Can’t knock that strategy.
Who knows if this streak will stay alive through the rest of this series. One thing’s for sure; the longer it lasts, the better the odds are for Boston.
Another thing worthy of note is the Bruins’ third line.
After an absolutely miserable first period in Game 2 last Saturday, coach Claude Julien switched up his lines, sending out Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin as his third forward unit. He claimed he was playing a hunch that it would work out.
It’s safe to say Boston’s “hunch line” is paying off in a big way. Not only did Paille notch his second goal in as many games, but Seguin and Kelly looked better than ever. Seguin was all over the ice, skating with a fury not seen from him in months. He still can’t seem to get the puck in the net, but if he plays like this night in and night out it’ll only be a matter of time.
Kelly, too, had one of his best outings of the postseason. Perhaps his goal in Game 2 finally shook him out of the doldrums. Tonight was the first time in a long time he didn’t just end up looking like a corpse on ice.
The more lines that end up becoming scoring threats, the less likely Chicago is going to be able to counter. Boston made it this far with one line doing all the work more nights than not. The team couldn’t have picked a better time to start generating offense all around.
But we can’t talk about Game 3 without mentioning the man between the pipes for Boston. In fact, if the Bruins end up winning the Stanley Cup, the probability that there will be any drama in determining the Conn Smythe winner just went out the window.
Tuukka Rask was phenomenal, yet again. Its getting to the point where there’s no need to go into the details, I could just copy and paste from a previous recap. The man who came into this postseason with no career shutouts just posted his third in seven games.
Rask has been lights out ever since the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs came to an end, and he’s two wins away from adding a couple trophies to his resume. If there’s any phrase which will undoubtedly haunt the Blackhawks tonight, its “save by Rask.”
Most importantly for the young netminder; all of this is happening before a summer in which he becomes a free agent. Ironic really, if you think about it. With every zero Rask posts these playoffs, a couple more will likely get added to his next contract.