Bruins beat Blackhawks 2-0, lead Cup finals 2-1
BOSTON — Tuukka Rask watched most of the action at the other end of the ice. And when the Blackhawks did make a late charge, he was ready.
The Bruins goalie stopped 28 shots for his third career playoff shutout, helping Boston beat Chicago 2-0 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup finals. After playing four extra periods in the first two games, the Bruins made an early night of it with second-period goals by Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron.
“It’s better, I guess,” Rask said. “Obviously, you go triple-overtime, (then) overtime the next game, it takes a lot of energy out of you. But we’ll take a regulation win, for sure.”
Corey Crawford made 33 saves for the Blackhawks, who played without Marian Hossa when he was scratched just before gametime.
Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston before the matchup of Original Six franchises returns to Chicago for a fifth game. The teams split the first two games there, with the Blackhawks winning Game 1 in triple-overtime and the Bruins stealing home-ice advantage on Paille’s goal in the first OT of the second game.
But this time the intrigue came before the opening faceoff instead of after the end of regulation.
Hossa and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara both left the ice after warmups. But while Chara needed just some stitches after a collision with teammate Milan Lucic, Hossa was dropped from the lineup with an unspecified injury.
“I was as surprised as anybody else,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I can definitely tell you they lost a pretty important player on their roster, but that doesn’t mean we change our game. I think it’s important we stick with what we believe in.”
Julien said Chara slipped and “had a little gash over his eye.”
“Nothing serious,” Julien said of his captain and No. 1 defenseman, who still managed to lead the team in ice time.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was less forthcoming with information on Hossa’s malady, sticking to the standard NHL diagnosis: Upper body.
“We’ll say ‘day-to-day.’ We’re hopeful he’ll be ready for the next game,” he said, adding that it did not happen during warmups, as had been reported on the team’s Twitter account and the TV broadcast. “It was a game-time decision after the warmup there. That’s when we made the call, after warmup.”
Hossa, who has three game-winning goals in the playoffs this year, was tied for the team lead with 15 playoff points and was third on the Blackhawks with 17 goals during the regular season.
It was a loss the Blackhawks couldn’t afford.
Not with Rask stopping everything that came his way.
“We ran up against some of the best goalies in the league here,” Quenneville said. “Tonight I thought we made it rather easy on him as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks. I think we’ve got to be better at going to the net.”
The backup to Conn Smythe-winner Tim Thomas in the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup run, Rask didn’t face as difficult a test as in the first period of Game 2, when the Blackhawks sent 19 shots at him but managed just one goal.