Yes, it is possible to end Stanley Cup Final games in regulation. It seemed for a while there that it wasn’t, and people jokingly wondered how many overtime periods it would take for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks to put this one to bed, but the Bruins proved that sometimes all it takes is 60.
Just 60 minutes to put up two goals, to award Tuukka Rask a shutout, to–don’t look now!–find themselves needing just two more wins. The Bruins now completely run the table of the league leaders in all four offensive and all four goaltending metrics.
To think that this game started off with a lot of odd coincidences: a magnificent double rainbow arching across Boston followed by the two Slovakian players each getting injury reports announced in warmups. Something odd, something never really made clear, happened to Chicago’s Marian Hossa (not during the warmups) and he was scratched for the whole game. Zdeno Chara, on the other hand, had a skate issue and a little warmup collision with Milan Lucic, something requiring stitches but not able to keep Big Z off the ice.
The Bruins had a much, much better first period this time, although you can’t do much worse than their lackluster first 20 in Game 2. They had five shots before five minutes had elapsed this time! They were also able to morph Chicago’s power plays–as bad as they were–into scoring chances, getting what seemed like infinite breakaway opportunities while also keeping the door shut when it was a Boston penalty to kill.
The overtime hero of Saturday night, Daniel Paille, struck again to open the scoring. Slotted onto a line with Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, who helped out on the goal, everything’s coming up Milhouse for this third line right now. Speaking of snakebitten players starting to find their feet again, Jaromir Jagr. The man known as Puffnuts to his friends still hasn’t found the twine yet, but a perfectly-placed pass off his stick led to Patrice Bergeron scoring on the power play to increase and hold the lead.
Allow me to diverge for a moment and discuss Jagr. Coming close to scoring yet again, that’s not the point here. After the game, he said he’d never felt the way the Bruins made him feel tonight. Keep in mind that he has been playing hockey for longer than Seguin has been alive and has a lot of different teams to compare 2013 Boston to, yet this is the one that got him feeling so happy. Wow!
There was one less-than-stellar aspect tonight: Kaspars Daugavins, who laid a pretty bad hit on Andrew Shaw and then found himself so far offside when he tried to score a little later. But if that’s the worst that happened this game–that’s not a bad game.
Note that all games from here on out will be shown on NBC. Game 4 will be at 8 p.m. Wednesday night!