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News & Notes: Blackhawks’ power-play issues and Rask vs. Thomas

Jun 17, 2013, 9:53 AM EDT

raskspitgetty Getty Images

News and notes entering Monday’s Stanley Cup Final. More overtime on the way?

Game 3: Chicago Blackhawks at Boston Bruins, 8 p.m. ET (watch on NBCSN and live online) – Series tied, 1-1

The Bruins and Blackhawks stopped an eight-year streak of one team taking the first two games by splitting Games 1 & 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in Chicago. Tonight, the scene changes to the TD Garden in Boston, where the Bruins have won six straight since Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series vs. Toronto.

In the 26th overtime game of this postseason (two shy of the NHL single-season record), Daniel Paille’s goal 13:48 into overtime helped the Bruins become the first road team in ten games (since the first round) to win in OT. It gave Paille his second game-winning goal of the playoffs, matching his total from his last 246 regular-season games, and punctuated an impressive performance by the Bruins’ reconstructed line of Paille – Chris KellyTyler Seguin. United after a first period in which the Blackhawks outshot the Bruins, 19-4, the trio played a part in both Bruins goals, while combining for seven shots on Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and using their speed to force two registered takeaways and several other Chicago mistakes.

The third line’s rise came at the right time, as Boston’s top line of Milan LucicDavid KrejciNathan Horton was held without a point for the first time this postseason, and only two shots on goal. Lucic did contribute a game-high ten of the Bruins’ 50 hits in Game 2.

In a series in which neither winning team has led in regulation, the Blackhawks have not lacked scoring chances. Through 185:56 of playing time in two games, they have attempted a staggering 196 shots (compared to 133 for Boston), 97 of which have reached the Bruins goal. In Game 2, the Hawks’ depth showed, as all four forward lines got at least four shots through to Tuukka Rask. However, the team mustered only 15 shots after the first period, none by captain Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, one by Patrick Sharp, and two by Marian Hossa. Toews, the Selke Trophy winner, remains stuck on one goal in 19 games this postseason. While changes to the top lines are possible, head coach Joel Quenneville only hinted that he might insert the more offensive-minded Viktor Stalberg into the lineup in place of Brandon Bollig, whose mishandling of the puck led to Paille’s OT-winner in Game 2. Roster moves should be learned at the morning skate.

Another major area of concern for Chicago is its power-play futility. The Blackhawks have failed to score on 15 straight opportunities with the man advantage, dating back to Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, when Bryan Bickell lit the lamp. Against the Bruins through two games, the Hawks are 0-for-6, with only four shots on goal. Astonishingly, Bickell was on the ice for only 0:13 of 10:43 during those six opportunities.

TIM VS. TUUKKA – BRUINS GOALTENDER COMPARISON

When asked on Sunday to compare his current goaltender, Tuukka Rask, with the goalie that helped lead his club to the Stanley Cup title two seasons ago, Tim Thomas, Bruins head coach Claude Julien told reporters that “[Tuukka] has been as much a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago.”

The data would seem to confirm that opinion, with Rask matching Thomas both at home and overall:

Tim Thomas (2011):

  • 16-9, 1.98 GAA, .940 save %, 4 shutouts (named Conn Smythe Trophy winner)
  • at TD Garden: 10-3, 1.78 GAA, .945 save %, 2 shutouts

Tuukka Rask (2013):

  • 13-5, 1.73 GAA, .944 save %, 2 shutouts
  • at TD Garden: 7-2, 1.91 GAA, .942 save %, shutout

DID YOU KNOW?

Recent history shows that the road team has fared better in Game 3s when the Final series is deadlocked at one game apiece, winning six of nine since 1989. However, it is interesting to note that when the road team wins Game 3, it later captures the Cup. When the home team wins the third game, it does not finish the deal.

Year Winner of Game 3 Score Opponent Outcome
1989 Montreal 4-3, 2OT (home) Calgary Lost in 6
1991 Minnesota 3-1 (home) Pittsburgh Lost in 6
1993 Montreal 4-3, OT (away) Los Angeles Won in 5
1994 N.Y. Rangers 5-1 (away) Vancouver Won in 7
1999 Dallas 2-1 (away) Buffalo Won in 6
2000 New Jersey 2-1 (away) Dallas Won in 6
2001 Colorado 3-1 (away) New Jersey Won in 7
2002 Detroit 3-2, 3OT (away) Carolina Won in 5
2004 Calgary 3-0 (home) Tampa Bay Lost in 7

This postseason, the Blackhawks are 0-3 in Game 3s, losing at Minnesota, Detroit and Los Angeles. The Bruins are 3-0, winning at Toronto and the N.Y. Rangers and at home vs. Pittsburgh.

DID YOU KNOW?

Of the NHL-leading nine goals that David Krejci (BOS) and Patrick Sharp (CHI) have each scored this postseason, only two of Krejci’s have come at TD Garden, and only two of Sharp’s have come away from the United Center.

LINKS

  1. bigkniht37 - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Really NBC, Tusk vs. Thomas? Who is Tusk????

    • Mike Halford - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Oh, Tusk is Tuukka Rask’s special nickname that only we know about. And use.

  2. dropthepuckeh - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    Genius move putting in Bollig as noted by so many Hawks fans previously. Why wouldn’t you want a goon out there on the ice for OT in the SCF? What could possibly happen….

  3. ironyisadeadscene - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Why doesn’t the Bruins penalty kill get the credit it deserves? Every series it’s “power play futility” but aside from the Toronto series, the Bruins’ PK has been great.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Let them believe it is because they aren’t executing versus the Bruins are shutting them down. Pittsburgh is still making excuses and look where that got them. It isn’t a coincidence these high powered offense don’t execute the same way against Boston. It is because Boston wears them down and their system doesn’t allow a lot of quality scoring chances. Rask has been unreal when they do get through the defense. Who cares who gets the credit/ blame – the names on the Cup don’t lie….

  4. akmd1984 - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    exactly my thoughts irony…

    Bruins have killed something like 30 consecutive PP’s (against some serious firepower no less) and not a single mention of their flat out dominance when short handed.

  5. gallyhatch - Jun 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    I would prefer to see the Bruins’ PK get no respect at all in the media, it’s one more thing for Julien to use as a motivational tool.

  6. earpaniac - Jun 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    The Bruins’ PK is good, but the Hawks’ PP has been monumentally bad all season. I don’t think it’s a slight to you guys, it’s just the national media is finally asking themselves the same question Hawks’ fans have been asking all year. “How can a team with this much offensive talent have this bad of a PP?!”

    • spitfisher - Jun 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Ok, the bruins are good on the PK, well then what is GREAT then? The Hawks have struggled ..OK I get it now explain Cindys’ birds?, were they struggling too? what about the rangers? I get it struggling too.

      Do you see a pattern here? I do, its called the bruins, don’t poke the bear!

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