The Boston Bruins beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals Monday night, taking a 2-1 lead in the series. Both previous games had gone into overtime, but Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins in the second period on Monday, and Boston dominated during the rest of regulation:
Chicago, which was without Marian Hossa because of an upper-body injury, rarely sustained pressure against goaltender Tuukka Rask, continued to struggle on special teams (now 0-for-11 in the series) and didn’t have much response to the ever-aggressive Bruins forecheck.
“It’s a low-chance game,” Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville told reporters in Boston Monday night. “It’s hard to get A-plus chances. You have to manufacture the second [chances], kind of ugly goals, tip screens, deflections. If they give up the rush, they’re not going to give up much, even though we had a couple looks in the third. The frequency of having high-quality chances in this series at both ends has not been there.”
Chicago struggled against the Bruins without Hossa, an important asset. Quenneville has revealed little about his injury:
Marian Hossa is one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ top scorers, with three game-winning goals already this postseason.
And then, suddenly, he wasn’t in the lineup for a team that needs all the scoring it can get. His absence is part of a long-running cat-and-mouse game NHL teams play on the theory that any information about injuries is a competitive disadvantage. . .
Various in-game reports said Hossa was hit by a puck during the pregame skate. But coach Joel Quenneville denied that after the game. Teams are only require to say whether an injury is to the upper or lower body, thus Quenneville’s one-word answer: “Upper.”
Meanwhile, the Bruins’ third line overwhelmed Chicago:
The line also led Boston’s pestering forecheck that forced Chicago into repeated giveaways and penalties as the Bruins controlled play from the start.
“We’re having fun. The three of us are working hard and having fun, which is nice,” [Chris] Kelly said. “It’s always fun, but some days are more fun than others.”
Paille, who scored the overtime winner in Game 2 to tie the series, scored the first goal Monday off assists by Kelly and Seguin. The Bruins went up 2-0 whenBergeron scored a power-play goal set up by the grinding work of Kelly and Paille, who drew the penalties that gave Boston an 11-second 5-on-3 advantage. . .
“When you look at I guess the matchups, it just kind of seems to even itself out,” [Boston coach Claude] Julien said after Monday’s win. “Our top lines haven’t scored that much 5 on 5 either. It’s the Kelly line that gives us that goal 5 on 5. Right now it just seems that both teams are very aware of the other team’s top players and playing a chess match.”