With the Bruins and Blackhawks tied at a game apiece, the Stanley Cup Final shifts to Boston for a pivotal Game 3 Monday night at 8 p.m. Chicago has yet to win a Game 3 in this postseason and is 3-4 on the road. The Bruins, meanwhile, are 7-2 at home in TD Garden this spring and haven’t lost a game there since the quarterfinals.
“I think when you’re at home the first two games, sometimes you get a little bit too comfortable at home. Then you come on the road, maybe it’s like a rude awakening when you come and play on the road,” Chicago’s Patrick Kane told reporters Sunday. “We’ve had three series to figure that out, learn it. It was a huge Game 4 against L.A. to come back and win that one. We definitely want to be better [Monday in Boston] especially in the first game on the road.”
Boston weathered a dreadfully slow start and ugly first period in Game 2 and went on to win on an overtime tally by Daniel Paille. Heading into Game 3, Coach Claude Julien wants to see a consistent game from the opening faceoff forward.
“We have to have a better start. You learn from past mistakes. That’s a mistake I think our team hopefully has learnt,” Julien said Sunday. “We’re going to go back and play the same way. When we get ourselves going and push pucks forward, we finish our checks, we’re willing to win races and battles, that’s when we excel.”
>> After Boston’s rough start in Game 2, Julien tweaked his line combinations and put Paille on the third unit with Tyler Seguin and Chris Kelly. The change brought new life to the Bruins. From the Boston Globe‘s Kevin Paul Dupont:
His club staring at the 1-0 deficit, as well as their own dead legs and potentially shattered dreams, Julien was looking at something else. Desperation.
And with it came invention.
The oft-slow-to-change Julien pushed around his cast of misfit toys among his third and fourth lines and conjured up magic in the likes of a new trio that put Chris Kelly between speedy wingers Tyler Seguin and Paille. When the night was over, Kelly had his first goal (the 1-1 equalizer) of the postseason and Paille had the winner, his third of the playoff season, as well as the key assist on Kelly’s game-tying strike.
>> In addition to the line shuffling, the continued steady performance of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has already eclipsed the stats of 2011 Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas, certainly didn’t hurt the Bruins.
>> From USA Today: Chicago is 0-for-6 on the power play through the first two games of the final and the unit hasn’t scored in its past 15 attempts. In such a close series, the Blackhawks are aiming to get their man-advantage on track. Also a fun graphic from the Chicago Tribune with a list of “things with more juice” than the Blackhawks’ power play.
>> In other NHL news, the New York Rangers are reportedly set to name former Vancouver Canucks bench boss Alain Vigneault as their new head coach.
>> If you missed it over the weekend, Alex Ovechkin won his third Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s MVP. From today’s paper, while another individual hardware validates the star winger’s resurgence this season it doesn’t mean that Ovechkin’s and Coach Adam Oates’s work is done. Also, Ovechkin said his fractured left foot is healing well.