By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks were shut out for the third time this season and the second time in a week. This blanking came in Boston at the hands of the Bruins, who took an early lead and put the game away with two goals in the span of 13 seconds in the final period. Patrice Bergeron had a pair of goals in a 3-0 Bruins victory.
First Period-The ‘Hawks got an early power play opportunity when Matt Bartkowski held Patrick Sharp just 1:38 into the game. Chicago managed a couple of long-distance slap shots but the Bruins killed the infraction.
Marcus Kruger picked off a pass in the neutral zone, came up the right side and got the puck on net. Tuukka Rask allowed the rebound and Ben Smith was in the area but couldn’t get a stick on the puck.
Milan Lucic led a 2-on-1 with Jerome Iginla in the seventh minute, though the pass to Iginla was off the mark. Corey Crawford stopped a pair of slap shots by Dougie Hamilton to keep the game scoreless. Crawford also kept a Gregory Campbell tip-in out of the net in the 12th minute.
Boston drew first blood shortly thereafter. The scoring play was started from the blueline, where Mark Bartkowski let fly from the left side. Patrice Bergeron was in front of the net for the redirect. The shot snuck in between Corey Crawford’s glove and left pad, giving the Bruins a 1-0 advantage 11:50 into the first period.
The Blackhawks couldn’t mount much in the way of offense and the first 20 minutes ended with the home team up a goal.
Second Period-The Hawks continued to have problems getting decent scoring chances in the first minutes of the middle frame. Michal Handzus sent a shot from the left circle in the sixth minute that was handled by Rask. Sharp had Andrew Shaw on a backdoor play two minutes later but the pass didn’t find Shaw’s stick.
Most of Chicago’s nine shot attempts in the period came well away from the net. Marian Hossa gained possession of the puck behind the Boston net and came around the right post in the 18th minute. Rask denied the wraparound attempt as well as a Brandon Bollig snap shot from the top of the left circle a minute later.
The fourth line held the puck in the Bruins zone and got a slap shot from Johnny Oduya that Rask easily sent to the corner. The period ended with Boston still up 1-0.
Third Period-A Saad wrist shot was kicked away by Rask in the third minute. Brad Marchand broke loose for the Blackhawks net after the puck got away from Brent Seabrook at the Boston blueline. However, Crawford turned him away with a nice poke check.
The Bruins went up 2-0 when Carl Soderberg converted on a rebound off a Johnny Boychuk shot at the 5:28 mark. Just seconds later, Crawford misplayed a puck behind the net and then took a terrible path back to the crease. He never made it. Crawford knocked the back of the net up but Bergeron took a pass from Marchand and put the puck across the goal line. After a short conference, the officials called it a good goal and the ‘Hawks trailed by three 5:41 into the third.
The Blackhawks got a chance to get back into the contest when Chris Kelly was sent to the box for hooking Toews 7:24 into the period. Seabrook had a couple of good looks but Chicago couldn’t convert. That effectively ended the game as Rask posted his seventh shutout of the season.
Three Stars-Rask (second), Bergeron (first). The box score didn’t list a third star, so let’s give it to Soderberg for the second Boston goal.
-There’s not much to say, really. The Hawks got handled by one of the league’s best as well as hottest teams. Boston stifled Chicago like they’ve done to a bunch of teams as of late.
-Aside from his gaffe that led to Boston’s third goal, I didn’t think Crawford was bad in net Thursday. He kept the Hawks in the game up until that 13 second stretch in the third period. In all, Crow stopped 20 of 23 Bruins shots.
-Teuvo Teravainen played 13:48, the highlight possibly coming when he planted Boychuk into the boards. He played well in his own zone but still hasn’t attempted a shot on goal with the Hawks. After a perfect night on faceoffs in his debut, he was two for seven at the dot.
-The Hawks outshot Boston 29-23, though few were serious scoring chances. Chicago was out hit 30-15 and lost the faceoff battle 29-24.
-It was a pretty clean game on both sides with just one Chicago penalty and two Bruin infractions.
-Next up is Friday’s game in Ottawa. Expect Antti Raanta to spell Crawford and for the Hawks to put up a couple of goals.