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Playoffs Tonight: We’re tied going into Boston

Jun 17, 2013, 8:05 AM EDT

toewscharagetty Getty Images

Game 3: Boston Bruins host Chicago Blackhawks (8:00 p.m. ET — NBCSN/Live Extra)
Series is tied at 1-1

You know two teams are evenly match when they play 185:53 minutes in just two games. However, the fact is that the Boston Bruins now have a slight edge by virtue of having more home games left. The Bruins haven’t lost a game at TD Garden since the first round, but that streak will have to end in order for Chicago to win the Cup.

“We’re extremely excited about the challenge,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We went into Detroit, knew we had to win a game. We put ourselves in a tough spot there. We’re excited about being on the road.”

They’re in this spot because the Blackhawks weren’t able to maintain the same level of pressure throughout Game 2. Chicago came out firing on all cylinders in the first period, but Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask stood tall and held Chicago to just one goal on 19 shots through 20 minutes.

If not for Rask’s contributions, the Bruins might have been out of the game early. Performances like that have become the norm for him in the postseason though. With a 1.73 GAA and .944 save percentage in 18 starts, he’s drawing comparisons to what Tim Thomas did for the Bruins during their 2011 Stanley Cup-winning run.

“I think it’s just as good. No doubt,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Tim has been a great goaltender for us. When you lose a guy like that, there’s always that fear that you’re not going to be able to replace him.

“Tuukka’s done an outstanding job. To me, he’s been as much of a contributor to our team as Tim was two years ago.”

Rask kept the potential for a comeback alive, but you also have to credit the rest of the team for evening the series. Chris Kelly scored his first goal of the playoffs and Daniel Paille netted the overtime winner, once again highlighting the scoring depth of this team.

Secondary scoring is one area the Blackhawks need to match Boston in, especially seeing as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Marian Hossa have combined for no goals and two assists in the Stanley Cup Final. That might motivate them to insert in Viktor Stalberg for Brandon Bollig after the latter logged a team-low 8:42 minutes and had a minus-one rating in Game 2.

“(Stalberg) could play,” Quenneville said when asked about the possible switch yesterday.

A move like that might be seen as a minor change, but in a battle of inches, everything matters.

  1. polegojim - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Mix it up Coach Q… Big guys for the Hawks just aren’t getting it done… and those for the Bruins are.

    Toews and Hossa will break out… but Kane does his best ostrich impersonation… as anticipated. Hat trick… to nothing for several games in a row. Who else can Coach Q match him up with? The guy can’t get it done unless he’s not featured.

  2. comeonnowguys - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    First team to play a full three-period, 60-minute game tonight wins.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jun 17, 2013 at 9:38 AM

      Yeah, first team to score more goals wins….

  3. irokkit - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Yeah, the team that doesn’t score enough goals loses. Yeah!

    This is fun!

  4. jimthebear - Jun 17, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Derek Sanderson’s keys to the game tonight.. (For you long time Bruins fans)

    1. Score more goals than the opponent
    2. Check more than your opponent
    3. Skate more than your opponent
    4. have better goal tending than your opponent.

    I can’t believe they let him spew this before every game for X many years.. Shhhh Derek, you’re giving the blackhawks all our best secrets!!

  5. acepylut - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    I wonder how many goals the refs are going to take away from the ‘hawks tonite. Boston did get blown out in game 2. They shouldn’t be thanking Tuuka, they should be sending a nice fat envelope filled with cash to the refs.

    • savoirlaire - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      Well, if this isn’t classic spoiled baby whining, I don’t know what is. I suppose Marchand didn’t get the $hit slashed out of him on that breakaway, huh, little boy? Grow up and grow some, whiner…you and habsman should play GI Joes together sometime.

    • suckit619 - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Obviously sympathy for the marathon bombings.

    • spitfisher - Jun 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      acepylut, when the ref loses site of the puck he blows the whistle, that’s what happened. The hind sight replay you watched and are now belly aching about was showing the puck cross the line was way after the whistle. it wasn’t even close. There wasn’t much of an argument from the bench either.

      Let it go, you were out hustled and out worked as the game went along, including OT………you should be belly aching about that instead.

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