Monday night, the Bruins beat the Blackhawks 2-0 in Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden to take a 2-1 series lead. Boston got another goal from its reconfigured third line (Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin), a power-play goal from Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask’s (28 saves) third shutout of the postseason.
If you boil it down, this was basically a perfect game by head coach Claude Julien’s standards: they held Chicago’s power play to 0-for-5 (now 0-for-11 in the series), they had six more hits, four more takeaways, 10 more blocked shots than the Blackhawks and they won 40-of-56 faceoffs (Bergeron was 24-4). This total team effort puts Boston two wins away from its second Cup in three years. Game 3 is Wednesday (8 p.m., NBCSN) at the Garden.
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“It’s a chess match,” said Julien. “Both teams are aware of the top players but when you get to this stage, other players feel it and go above and beyond.”
It was the second straight game that Kelly’s line gave Boston a goal and once again it served as the opening tally for the B’s. This time it gave them a 1-0 lead at 2:13 in second period as Kelly stole the puck from Dave Bolland (3 penalties) and passed it to Paille who wristed it by Corey Crawford (33 saves). Tyler Seguin had the second assist on Paille’s fourth goal of the postseason.
Things didn’t go Chicago’s way right from pregame warmups as star forward Marian Hossa went down with an undisclosed injury and ended up not suiting up for Game 3. In his place former BC Eagle Ben Smith skated 10:23 but he was put in an impossible position trying to replace a world-class player when he hadn’t played a single playoff game this year.
“It’s something we prepared for all day, that he might not play, so it happens,” said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. “Sometimes you’re missing one of your best players and you’ve got to find a way to play without him. We’ve just got to find a way to win.”
The Bruins power play isn’t setting any records themselves but they look light years ahead of Chicago as they scored their second on the man advantage in three games. Bergeron put in a close range shot (his seventh of the playoffs) at 14:05 of second period after a great feed by Jaromir Jagr with Zdeno Chara picking up the second assist.
Unlike in Game 1 when the B’s had a pair of two-goal leads that they couldn’t protect, this time they learned from their mistakes and squeezed the life out of the Blackhawks. Boston’s shorthanded unit, led by Kelly and Paille, were able to kill two penalties in the third period that both came at times when the Blackhawks would have jumped right back into it with a goal.
“We tried to stay in a compact zone,” said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg who blocked six shots (one less than Chicago’s whole team). “We kept the shooters to the outside and Tuukka always seems to make the big save.”
Added Rask, “We eliminated most of the rebound opportunities.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate