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Bruins Live Blog: Rask Earns Shutout As B’s Take 2-1 Series Lead In Stanley Cup Final

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
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Johnny Oduya and Patrice Bergeron (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Johnny Oduya and Patrice Bergeron (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Final, 2-0 Bruins: That’s all she wrote for Game 3. The Bruins outplayed the Blackhawks for just about the entire game, and Rask was, well, Rask. Put it together, and it adds up to a 2-1 series lead for Boston.

Third period, 11.9, 2-0 Bruins: The Bruins are going to win, but not before a brawl. Chara got into it with Bickell in front of the net, and then a full-on line brawl broke out. Shaw and Marchand squared up, and after they wrestled each other to the ice, Shaw delivered a very heavy left punch to Marchand, while Marchand was lying on the ice.

The refs are still sorting things out.

Third period, 1:45, 2-0 Bruins: The Bruins kill the penalty, their 26th straight, with Bergeron and Paille relentlessly working to clog any possible shooting lanes.

The Chicago net is now empty.

Third period, 4:05, 2-0 Bruins: A couple of good chances get stopped by Crawford, and now it’s the Blackhawks heading to the power play, as Krejci gets called for hooking to break up a potential short-handed rush. It’s do-or-die time for the Blackhawks.

Third period, 6:04, 2-0 Bruins: A nightmare night for Dave Bolland continues, as he skates a familiar path to the penalty box for tripping.

Third period, 9:12, 2-0 Bruins: No shots on net, no sweat. Bruins kill off the penalty, their 25th in a row, dating back to the Rangers series.

The home crowd showed its appreciation with a rousing ovation after the penalty expired.

Third period, 12:04, 2-0 Bruins: Well, if the Blackhawks were looking for a chance, now is it. McQuaid hauled down Marcus Kruger, drawing a penalty. We’ll see if the B’s can kill off their 25th straight penalty.

Third period, 12:42, 2-0 Bruins: A long wrister from Bickell is the best the Blackhawks can muster, as the Bruins are doing a dandy job of keeping the puck deep in the Chicago zone and killing clock. They’ll need another goal for this one to be safe, but their defense has prevented too many dangerous chances from developing.

Third period, 14:48, 2-0 Bruins: Maybe the Blackhawks are saving their desperation for later? I’m just not seeing any indication that they’re competing on the same level as the Bruins. I know they’re capable of it, because they have done it through the first 11 periods of the series, but they’re getting beat right now.

Third period, 16:29, 2-0 Bruins: No power-play goal for Boston, but the B’s are controlling play early in the third, not letting off the gas pedal.

Third period, 20:00, 2-0 Bruins: Third period under way. Sixty seconds of power play time. (It opened with another Bergeron faceoff win, making him 20-for-23).

End of second period, 2-0 Bruins: David Krejci walked along the goal line and put a shot on net just before the clock hit zeroes, but Crawford was down on the ice to keep it out of the net. The Bruins will have 60 seconds of power-play time when the third begins. A goal there would just about put this one away.

Obviously, that was a nearly perfect period for the Bruins. They played hard while skating 5-on-5, and Paille’s no-quit effort to pickpocket Bolland before the first goal gave the Bruins a lead. By driving to the net — first Kelly, then Paille — the Bruins drew two penalties, scoring seconds after the first one expired to double the lead.

The Bruins did indeed smarten up after taking two penalties in the first, and Rask has been good when needed. He’s at 18 saves through two periods, while his teammates have been credited with 13 blocked shots (Dennis Seidenberg tops among them with four.) The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have blocked just two Boston shots, despite the Bruins attempting 34 shots toward net (two have been blocked, six have missed the net).

The Bruins have also dominated at the faceoff dot, winning 69 percent of draws in this game. Bergeron, who scored the second goal, has won 19 of his 22 draws, helping to sway that number in the Bruins’ favor.

It’s not complicated for the Bruins now. Clear out the front of the net, let Rask see shots, make smart breakouts, take a 2-0 lead. Of course, against a team as talented as the Blackhawks, that’s always easier said than done.

Second period, 1:00, 2-0 Bruins: Another power-play opportunity for Boston, this one a gift from Chicago: unsportstmanlike conduct on Dave Bolland.

Second period, 5:55, 2-0 Bruins: Patrice Bergeron got denied from the doorstep earlier in the game, but not this time. After controlling the puck off the draw, the Bruins cycled the puck to Jagr in the right corner. With Lucic occupying two white jerseys in front, and with Bolland on his way into the zone from the box, Jagr’s pass through traffic made its way right to Bergeron’s tape in front of the goal line to the left side of the net. With an open net staring him in the face, Bergeron lifted his shot over the downed Crawford. B’s lead 2-0.

Second period, 6:10, 1-0 Bruins: Well, the Blackhawks’ penalty kill was doing pretty well, until Daniel Paille broke free with a chance on net. Hjalmarsson took him out on his way to the net, drawing a tripping call and giving the Bruins 11 seconds of a two-man advantage before another 1:49 of power-play time.

Second period, 8:00, 1-0 Bruins: Boston’s going to get an opportunity on the power play here, after Chris Kelly gets cross-checked from behind on his way to the net by Dave Bolland. Pretty easy call for the ref to make, and pretty huge opportunity for Boston, which entered tonight with a 16 percent success rate on the power play. The Blackhawks have killed 93.7 percent of penalties this postseason, so it won’t be easy.

The teams are — unsurprisingly — matching up pretty evenly with each other. Rask made a diving stick save to cover the post on a Stalberg wraparound attempt, which was probably Chicago’s best chance. Patrick Kane is no doubt kicking himself for taking far too long to fire a shot after a gorgeous feed by Seabrook, allowing Rask to set up shop and get in position to take away Kane’s options.

Second period, 14:50, 1-0 Bruins: Momentum is a very real thing, and the Bruins are riding it right now. The Bergeron line, with Chara and Seidenberg on the blue line, just put forth a relentless effort in the offensive zone. No goals came of it, but it’s not what the Blackhawks are looking for right now.

Second period, 17:47, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins have the lead.

Tyler Seguin was robbed by Crawford, who got just enough of Seguin’s shot with his glove to deflect it into the corner, but Daniel Paille was there to pick-pocket Dave Bolland and fire a laser high to Crawford’s glove save, beating him and giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead.

Safe to say that Paille-Kelly-Seguin line is clicking.

Second period, 20:00, 0-0: The second 20 is under way in Boston.

End of first period, 0-0: A scoreless first period is in the books in Game 3, with the Blackhawks’ two power plays help level out the shots (B’s lead 11-10) and the overall game in the latter half of the period.

It looked like the Bruins’ power play deserved a chance with a minute left, when Johnny Oduya took out Horton at the knees on a 2-on-2 rush, but the refs deemed it a legal play.

The Bruins certainly looked like a much-improved club from their first period the other night, but they have nothing to show for it. Crawford looked just slightly shaky early on but managed to stand tall when called upon, particularly when Rich Peverley walked in all alone for not one but two short-handed shots on net.

Rask is still in the you-can’t-score-on-me zone, and the Blackhawks are going to need to get a lot more traffic in front if they hope to get something past him. Either a screen or a deflection looks to really be the only way to get anything by him these days.

What Claude Julien is probably telling his team right now is to keep their heads and stay out of the penalty box. While the Blackhawks’ power play is quite abysmal, taking two minutes to kill a penalty is a momentum killer. It’s true that the Bruins were able to get more short-handed chances than the Blackhawks’ power play, but Chicago did nearly score early on in the second power play after a mad scramble in front. No matter how poorly Chicago’s power play is operating, the Bruins know that every time they head to the box they’re playing with fire.

First period, 1:27, 0-0: The Bruins generated more short-handed chances than the Blackhawks’ power play, including a Hail Mary from Chara to Marchand that connected but was broken up by some chippy ice in front of the Chicago net.

First period, 5:45, 0-0: The Bruins take another unnecessary penalty, with Shawn Thornton going to the box for roughing after a scrum behind the Boston net. Normally when penalties are called in those situations, you see matching minors, but referee Chris Rooney emphatically called the roughing on Thornton.

In Tuukka Rask news, the netminder made a run-of-the-mill dazzling save on a scorching slap shot by Duncan Keith. Rask dropped to the split and extended his left arm to make a glove save.

First period, 7:55, 0-0: The Bruins killed the penalty, with only a bad angle shot by Seabrook after the penalty expired getting on net. The deflection of that shot kicked the puck out to the neutral zone, where Daugavins hopped on it at full speed on a possible 2-on-1. However, Daugavins never got the puck on his stick, and he put himself offside. He’s having a rough go of things in this Stanley Cup Final.

First period, 10:03, 0-0: Kaspars Daugavins went in with an elbow to the temple of Andrew Shaw, drawing a roughing call. I wonder if Shanahan will look at that. It didn’t look malicious, but with contact that clear, ouch.

First period, 11:50, 0-0: The Bruins look a lot better in the early going here than they did in Game 2, so at least they got that fixed. They have seven shots through 8:10, which is three more shots than they had in the entirety of the first period last time out.

Claude Julien’s lines have looked a bit out of order, as Patrice Bergeron was out there for a defensive zone draw and it shuffled things up a bit. But the strong shifts from Seguin-Kelly-Paille and Daugavins-Peverley-Thornton early on stand out as the best thus far. Jaromir Jagr also had a couple of chances, including a backhand bid on a wraparound that was so forceful it knocked the stick flying out of Duncan Keith’s hands.

The Bruins also announced after the last stoppage that Bruins fans set a new record by raising $107,385 with their playoffs beards. That’s a whole lot of money, you bearded beasts.

First period, 16:45, 0-0: Chris Kelly’s little tester shot on net nearly found its way through Crawford’s five hole. You of course remember what happened to the last opposing goalie to play in Cup Final games in Boston. Crawford’s shaken off the jitters though, with four saves against two pretty solid shifts from the third and fourth lines. Andrew Ference was also active on the blue line to keep a couple of pucks in the zone.

First period, 20:00: Stanley Cup hockey is on in Boston. David Krejci won the opening faceoff, and they’re under way.

8:19 p.m .: With puck drop just an anthem away, the Bruins announce their starters. It’ll be the Lucic-Krejci-Horton line up front, with Chara and Seidenberg on the back end.

8:08 p.m.: Most everyone expected Brandon Bollig to step out of the lineup and Viktor Stalberg to be inserted into his place. Stalberg will in fact be in there, but in a game-time surprise, it won’t just be Bollig stepping out. Marian Hossa also won’t be playing tonight.

Hossa has seven goals and eight assists and a plus-8 rating in 19 postseason games. According to Elliotte Friedman, Hossa was hit by a shot during warmups. Ben Smith will take his place. That’s quite the game-changer.

Smith has just 20 regular-season games of experience, though he did play seven postseason games in 2011, when he scored three goals.

8:02 p.m.: Tonight marks the 65th time the Bruins have taken the ice for warmups this season, yet it apparently is something they have not yet perfected. Toward the end of the pregame warmup, Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara collided with each other. Considering they’re two of the biggest bodies in the game, it was a hard-to-miss crash. Both players looked OK afterward, but that’s a tough way to get things started for those two tonight.

7:53 p.m.: All postseason long, the Bruins’ honorary fan banner captains have had a Boston Strong theme. Tonight, the banner captains will be the siblings of slain MIT

police officer Sean Collier. Rob Rogers, Jenn Rogers and Jennifer Lemmerman will wave the Bruins flag before the giant banner makes its way around the lower bowl.

Other captains this postseason include Jeff Bauman, Carlos Arredondo, Dic Donohue and others who either injured in the Boston Marathon bombings or came to the aid of the victims and the city after the bombings.

7:15 p.m.: The crowd is starting to trickle into the TD Garden, as we’re now about an hour away from game time.

The only bit of action the ice has seen has been Jaromir Jagr’s usual pregame twirl, and now some repairs to glass support over in the far right corner.

The lighting in here is a bit different than usual. There’s a soft, gold light filling the Garden, creating an atmosphere usually reserved for rock concerts, not hockey games. But hey, it’s the Cup.

6:17 p.m.: A major storm just passed through the area, dropping hail and heavy rain all over previously dry and happy hockey fans, with some quick flashes of lightning and loud booms of thunder. It’s similar to the severe weather out in Illinois just prior to puck drop in Game 1.

Fortunately, it looks like the little pocket of severe weather has moved on, leaving another 90 minutes of pregame fun for the folks outside.

5:25 p.m.: Hello and welcome from a very quiet TD Garden. I almost feel as if I got here too early, because it’s eerily silent up here on Level 9.

Regardless, I’m pretty sure there will be hockey here in about 150 minutes, and it’s my believe the volume level will climb just a bit as puck drop nears.

But for now, we wait.

Here’s a look from inside the TD Garden, where a fresh sheet awaits the Bruins and Blackhawks for Game 3.

(Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

(Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

A Stanley Cup Final banner hangs from the rafters prior to Game 3 between the Bruins and Blackhawks. (Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

A Stanley Cup Final banner hangs from the rafters prior to Game 3 between the Bruins and Blackhawks. (Photo by Michael Hurley/CBS Boston)

4 p.m.: It’s once again time for Boston to host the Stanley Cup Final.

It hasn’t nearly been as long a wait as it was the last time, with the Bruins going 3-0 against the Canucks in this building two years ago, but the TD Garden will no doubt be electric in just a few hours when the puck drops for Game 3 against Chicago.

We’ve all already seen how even this matchup is, with Game 1 taking nearly two full games to determine a winner and Game 2 going deep into overtime.

The Bruins, buoyed by Tuukka Rask in the outrageously lopsided first period, were fortunate to be in a close game, and they capitalized with goals by Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille. Though they were able to survive that first period, when they were outshot 19-4, they know they may not be so lucky if they don’t come firing out of the gates.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are going to get back to the effort that produced four goals in Game 1. Two of their goals came from out-hustling the Bruins, while the other two came from long shots sent toward havoc in front. One bounced off Andrew Ference’s skate and in, the other off a stick and a shin pad for the game-winner.

One player I’ll have a close eye on tonight is Milan Lucic. He was an absolute wrecking ball in Game 2, recording 10 hits and being a completely intimidating force. When he skated in on the forecheck, Blackhawks D-men were skating out of the way by the time the third period came around. Niklas Hjalmarsson seemed most susceptible to rushing a pass and turning it over, though that might be because I’ve seen this gif from Game 1.

As for the rest of the game, it’ll all be here in the live blog. From pregame warmups through the final horn, stick with the live blog as we find out which team will seize the lead in this series.

Read more from Michael by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

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