NHL Stanley Cup Finals Game #3: Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins

2013 Stanley Cup Finals, Game #3
#1 Chicago Blackhawks at #4 Boston Bruins
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Monday, June 17, 2013, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Bruins -130 / Blackhawks +110
Current Line: Bruins -130 / Blackhawks +110
Opening Total: under 5 -110 / over 5 -110
Current Total: under 5 -140 / over 5 +120

Boston and Philadelphia meet for the second year in a row in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Boston Bruins take on the Chicago Blackhawks in game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals with the Series tied 1-1.

After two thrilling overtime games, the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals have now become a best of five series. The Chicago Blackhawks took game one 4-3 in triple overtime despite trailing  3-1 in the third period. The Boston Bruins rebounded with a 2-1 overtime win, and took home ice advantage. Now the series switches to Boston for games three and four.

In game two, Saturday night Chicago took an early 1-0 lead on Patrick Sharp’s goal 11 minutes into the first on assists from Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus. Chicago also had a goal from Marion Hossa disallowed in the first after referees ruled they blew the play dead before the puck crossed the line. Chicago dominated the first period with 19 shots on goal to Boston’s 4. Boston goalie Tukka Rask kept the Bruins in the game with some great saves.

Boston would tie it up with 5 minutes to go in the second on a goal from Chris Kelly on an assist from Daniel Paille. Neither team would score again in regulation. However, Boston outshot Chicago 16-9 in the second and third periods. It was now Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford’s time to weather the storm.

In overtime, Paille scored on assists from Tyler Seguin and Adam McQuaid with just over 6 minutes to go in the first extra session. Paille replaced the aging and slow Jaromir Jagr  after the 41 year old Jagr was proven to be ineffective. It was the second straight year the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals went to overtime, after the Los Angeles Kings won both overtime games at the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Finals. The Kings would go on to win the Cup in six games.

For the second straight game both Rask and Crawford were spectacular. Rask made 33 saves on 34 shots with a .971 save percentage. Crawford made 26 saves on 28 shots with a saver percentage of .929. The two teams went a combined 0 for 5 on the power play. Boston won 39 face-offs and Chicago won 33.

Chicago is coached by Joel Quenneville. In the playoffs the Blackhawks are scoring 2.74 goals per game and allowing 2. Chicago is averaging 34 shots per game and is allowing 29 per game. Chicago has struggled on the power play in the playoffs converting only 7 out of 57 chances or 12.3%. Chicago has only allowed four power play goals in 63 times shorthanded or 93.6%. The Blackhawks have one shorthanded goal in the playoffs. Chicago has won 47.1% of their face-offs. Chicago is averaging 8.9 penalty minutes per game.

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford is 13-6 in the playoffs with a 1.72 goals against average. He has a save percentage of .935 and has one shutout. He has allowed 36 goals with 556 shots faced. Like Rask, he was the back-up goalie on the Blackhawks’ Cup run in 2010.

Right wing Marian Hossa has 7 goals and 8 assists.  Center Patrick Sharp has 9 goals and 6 assists. Right wing Patrick Kane has 6 goals and 9 assists. Left wing Brian Bickell has 8 goals and 5 assists. Defenseman Duncan Keith has 2 goals and 9 assists.   Center Michal Handzus has 10 points. Centers Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw have 9 points. Center Michael Frolik has 3 goals and 4 assists. Defenseman Steve Montador is out for the season with a concussion but he hasn’t played since early March. Left wing Daniel Carcillo is questionable with an illness Monday night.

Boston is coached by Claude Julien. The Bruins are averaging 3.06 goals per game and giving up 1.94 in the playoffs. Boston is averaging 37 shots per game and giving up 35. The Bruins are 8 for 50 on the power play or 16%. Boston has allowed 1 short handed goal. The Bruins have killed 51 of 58 penalties in the playoffs or 87.9%. The Bruins have one short  handed goal.  The Bruins have won 55.4% of face-offs, which is the best among playoff teams. The Bruins are averaging 9.7 penalty minutes per game.

Goalie Tukka Rask is 13-5 in the playoffs with a 1.73 goals against average. He has allowed 35 goals on 624 shots faced. His save percentage is .944 and he has two shutouts. Rask was on the Bruins’ practice squad during their Cup run in 2011.

Center David Krejci leads the playoffs in points and goals with 23 and 9 respectively.  Right wing Nathan Horton has 7 goals and 11 assists. He injured his shoulder in game one and was questionable for game two Horton ended up playing 21.5 minutes. Left wing Milan Lucic has 5 goals and 11 assists. Left wing Brad Marchand has 4 goals and 9 assists.   Defenseman Zdeno Chara has 2 goals and 9 assists.  Center Patrice Bergeron has 6 goals and 6 assists. Rookie defenseman Torey Krug has 4 goals and 2 assists. Veteran right wing Jaomir Jagr has 7 assists. He is playing the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 21 years, a record among the four major sports.  The Bruins need to get more production from talented young center Tyler Seguin who only has a goal and 5 assists in the playoffs. Center Gregory Campbell broke his leg against the Penguins and is out for the season.

Chicago is 5-1 against Northeast teams, 8-2 against teams with winning records, and against Eastern Conference teams, 41-12 after the opponent scores 2 goals or less, 20-7 after scoring 2 goals or less, 39-14 after the opponent allows 2 goals or less, 49-18 overall, 39-15 after allowing 2 goals or less, 22-9 in Monday games, 37-16 on one day rest, and 23-10 in road games.

Boston is 6-0 at home, 4-0 on one day rest, 24-3 in Monday games, 6-1 after the opponent scores 2 goals or less, and overall, 4-1 after allowing 2 goals or less, after the opponent allows 2 goals or less, against Central Division teams, and after a win, and 5-2 in Stanley Cup Finals games. The Bruins are 7-3 against the Blackhawks recently, and 5-2 in Boston.

These two Original Six teams are evenly matched. There is no reason to think these teams won’t go the full seven games. It could come down to who gets their anemic power play going, if either can. The Boston crowd will be frenzied but Chicago won on the road in hostile environments in Detroit and Los Angeles to get here. I think the Blackhawks win a close game on the road and it could even go to overtime again.

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