By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks came up with a cringe-worthy effort against the visiting Boston Bruins Sunday afternoon. Boston chased Corey Crawford from the crease and dominated in all phases of the game.
The Blackhawks were soundly defeated, losing 6-2 in front of a national audience on NBC. With the loss, Chicago is now 2-2-3 on a home stand that looked to be full of winnable games a couple of weeks ago.
First Period-Boston was the first to score three minutes into the game. Patrice Bergeron got behind Michael Rozsival at the left post and was right there to take a backhanded feed from Reilly Smith.
The Hawks got a nice chance off a blocked shot in the fifth minute but Patrick Kane’s blast from the right circle was turned aside by a sliding Tuukka Rask.
The teams went 4-on-4 for two minutes when Brad Marchand (boarding) and Rozsival (slashing) were given timeouts for their bad behavior at the 7:31 mark. Ryan Spooner sent a shot off of Corey Crawford before the Hawks goalie corralled the bouncing puck.
Zdeno Chara took the puck to the net, drawing a holding penalty from Marian Hossa 12:10 into the period. Kris Versteeg had a huge shorthanded opportunity as he found himself behind the defense. However, the shot didn’t fool Rask.
Crawford made an outstanding save on a Milan Lucic tip-in attempt. Moments later, though, Tory Krug sent a shot on goal that was redirected by Loui Eriksson. Chicago found itself down 2-0 14:03 into the period.
The Bruins soon went back on the power play when Kane hooked Matt Bartkowski but the Blackhawks were able to kill the penalty. Kane was hit by Marchand with 2:31 left to give Chicago a chance to get back in the game. Unfortunately, the Hawks didn’t do much of anything with the opportunity. Rask played a puck outside the trapezoid in the waning seconds and Chicago had eight seconds of man advantage time to close the period.
Jonathan Toews won the faceoff at the left dot. Kane played catch with Duncan Keith before throwing the puck into the crease. The captain was at the right post and got enough stick on the pass to guide the puck past Rask. With just a two ticks left on the clock, the Hawks cut the lead in half.
Rask went to slam his stick against the post and caught Versteeg with the blade in the process. As a result, Chicago went into the first intermission down 2-1, but with 1:58 of power play time greeting them when they came out for the middle stanza.
Second Period-Midway through the remaining power play, Patrick Sharp turned the puck over near the Boston blue line. Eriksson was sprung on a breakaway that Crawford was able to stop. Right after the power play expired, the Hawks were called for too many men on the ice.
Crawford turned away an attempt by Spooner and the Hawks killed the penalty. As time was expiring, it was Boston’s turn to be nabbed for having six skaters on the ice to put the Hawks up a man once again. After an entertaining two minutes where both goalies were put to the test, Crawford covered a clearing attempt for a stoppage.
On the resulting even-strength faceoff, the Bruins took possession and moved the puck around the Hawks zone. David Pastrnak found Lucic in the slot. Lucic needed two attempts to beat Crawford but stuck the second chance into the net from the left post. The Bruins led 3-1 at the 6:08 mark.
Daniel Carcillo faced off in what was a lengthy bout with Adam McQuaid 8:56 into the period and both went to the sin bin. If the intent was to spark the Blackhawks, it didn’t work. Gregory Campbell sent a shot past Crawford at 12:19 and Antti Raanta was summoned into action with Chicago down 4-1.
Boston hammered away at Raanta as they continued to dominate the action. In the 18th minute, Chara was tripped by Ryan Hartman. Seconds after the faceoff, Dougie Hamilton beat Raanta’s glove to put the Bruins up 5-1.
Smith put an exclamation point on the bludgeoning, sending a puck off the stick of Niklas Hjalmarsson into the top shelf with three seconds to play. The boos rained down on the Blackhawks as they entered the tunnel down 6-1.
Third Period- NHL rules dictate that a third period has to be played. As such, the teams came back out to finish the contest. Chicago got a goal at the 14:18 mark when Bryan Bickell redirected a David Rundblad shot from the right circle.
Three Stars-Hamilton (third), Lucic (second), Bergeron (first).
-Was I the only one who was hoping NBC would show the third period of USA-USSR from 1980 in place of the final 20 minutes of the debacle I had to sit through to complete the recap?
-Pierre McGuire made a reference to a “ball-hockey save” that I’m just not going to touch. Feel free to insert your favorite line here.
–Johnny Oduya was taken to the locker room in the first period and did not return. Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com reported that he suffered an upper body injury and could miss a couple of games.
-Doc Emerick noted that this is the last time that Boston and Chicago will meet, unless they play each other in the Stanley Cup Final. He was kind enough not to add that that appears unlikely the way the Hawks are currently playing.
-Toews questioned the team’s focus after a crappy 4-1 loss to the Avs Friday night. I’m guessing this isn’t the answer he envisioned.
-Spooner looked like he got away with a trip of Brandon Saad on the fifth Boston goal. The fact that it was the fifth Boston goal probably makes that non-call irrelevant.
-Highlights from Sunday afternoon include my making a pork roast for the first time since ever with pretty decent results. That’s really all I’ve got.
-The eight-game home stand comes to a merciful end Tuesday when Brandon Pirri and Chicago South the Florida Panthers come to town. If the Blackhawks choose to show up, the puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.