Final, 3-2 Blackhawks: Visions of a Game 7 were quickly turned to fears of overtime, but only for a few seconds. The Blackhawks absolutely stunned the Bruins in the final minutes of this game, proving to be more than worthy enough for the Cup.
Third period, 58.3 seconds, 3-2 Blackhawks: Unreal.
A shot from the point got redirected and ended up hitting the post. With Rask sprawled out, Bolland was in the right place to bury the rebound. And now it’s the Blackhawks who are less than a minute away from winning the Cup. Hockey is a truly crazy game, but that the last 18 seconds were unbelievable.
Third period, 1:16, 2-2: The nightmare scenario for the Bruins comes true, as with the goalie pulled, Toews works a puck along the end wall and passes through the crease to Bickell, who buries the game-tying goal.
Third period, 2:14, 2-1 Bruins: The penalty was killed, with Rask gloving a tip straight into the air in its final seconds. Now just 2:14 separates the Bruins and Blackhawks from a Game 7.
Third period, 3:47, 2-1 Bruins: The Blackhawks have 8 seconds left on their power play, yet to get a shot on net. Kane shot high and wide to Rask’s blocker side on their only oppportunity.
Third period, 5:39, 2-1 Bruins: It’s not going to be easy for the Bruins, not after Chris Kelly got called for a high-sticking penalty in the neutral zone. Though the Blackhawks’ power play has had just an 11.6 percent success rate this postseason, it doesn’t matter much now. The Blackhawks have a two-minute window to turn this one around.
Third period, 7:49, 2-1 Bruins: The TD Garden has erupted, thanks to Milan Lucic.
No. 17 planted himself in front of the net, and though Krejci’s pass in front deflected off a stick or the net (or both), it eventually found its way onto Lucic’s stick. He lifted the puck past Crawford’s glove side, and the goalie never saw it. B’s have a one-goal lead and eight minutes to kill to force a Game 7, but don’t think for one second the Blackhawks will fade away without a fight.
Third period, 9:52, 1-1: Tuukka Rask’s name hasn’t been mentioned much tonight, because his abilities are sort of taken for granted at this point. However he just came up huge with a kick save on a Brent Seabrook slap shot from about 12 feet that very easily could have made its way to the back of the net.
Also of note was Zdeno Chara stepping up in the neutral zone to snuff out a potential Toews-Bickell 2-0n-1 after Seidenberg had pinched up the wall in the offensive end. That duo’s had its nightmares lately, but that was an important, proactive and confident play by Chara in a huge spot.
Third period, 15:56, 1-1: The lines are back to normal, and tensions are high at TD Garden. It’s nearly silent during play, as every fan in this building knows what’s at stake. A Bruins goal, and it’ll become deafeningly loud. A Blackhawks goal, and, well, things might get silent.
Third period, 20:00, 1-1: Jaromir Jagr is on the bench, indicating he might feel OK enough to play. We’ll find out soon, as the third period has begun.
End of second period, 1-1: If the first period belonged to the Bruins, you have to tip your hat to the Blackhawks in the second. They closed the gap on shots with a 9-6 advantage in the second 20 and tied the game off a shorthanded rush, with their best player cleanly beating the unbeatable goalie.
And so here we are, in a 1-1 game, with 20 minutes to play, and the Stanley Cup on the line. There’s not much to say. Both teams know what’s at stake, and how they respond in the third period will define their seasons.
Injury-wise, it’s not clear what happened to Jagr, but it must have been bad, considering he’s skated just 4:24 through two periods. Tyler Seguin’s speed has been an asset filling in on the Bergeron line, but given the effort level the Bruins are at tonight, they can hardly afford to lose a man.
Regardless, they’ll have to do whatever is necessary in the upcoming 20 minutes if they hope to let the season live on for one more game.
Second period, 3:07, 1-1: The Blackhawks’ first power play of the night generates little, with the Bruins’ penalty kill clearing the zone on three separate occasions. There was one close call for the Bruins, with a loose puck bouncing around in the crease, but Chara was able to clear the puck out of harm’s way.
Second period, 6:03, 1-1: I’m not sure why Jaromir Jagr has been missing this period, but I know that I don’t see him on the bench. He has just 3:35 of ice time this period, and Tyler Seguin has filled in on the right wing with Marchand and Bergeron.
Second period, 12:19, 1-1: The Bruins’ pressure is certainly creating the right opportunities, namely four power plays thus far. But the Bruins have been unable to capitalize, now 0-for-4 on the power play, the most recent coming after a Brent Seabrook trip of David Krejci.
The fourth power play was much improved from the third, which ended with Toews’ goal, but Milan Lucic was unable to gather a bouncing puck at his feet in the crease early on, and the game remains tied.
Second period, 15:36, 1-1: Jonathan Toews broke in on a 2-0n-2 off a neutral zone faceoff and simply beat Rask clean through the five-hole.
Zdeno Chara had tried to step up on the puck in the neutral zone off the faceoff but wasn’t able to corral it, leading to the opportunity just as the Shaw penalty expired.
When the puck hit the back of the net, the cheers from Blackhawks fans in the TD Garden were pretty loud. It looks like Chicago fans were willing to dish out whatever cash it took to get here tonight.
Second period, 17:36, 1-0 Bruins: Andrew Shaw goes to the box on a really weak roughing penalty. I wonder if that was called as a retaliation of sort for the earlier play, when Shaw went down and drew a stoppage in play but then returned to the game. His “roughing” in this case was a simple jab at Chris Kelly, nothing out of the ordinary, which is why I’m left to wonder if the refs are trying to get back at him. Shaw hasn’t been shy about snapping his neck back to draw a penalty all series long, and that’s something refs take note of during a series.
Second period, 18:57, 1-0 Bruins: The Boston power play ends, and shortly after David Krejci’s wrister through traffic caught the crossbar clean and deflected out of play.
Second period, 20:00, 1-0 Bruins: Second period, under way in Boston.
End of first period, 1-0 Bruins: The teams head to the locker rooms with the Bruins leading 1-0, and the home crowd shows its appreciation with a hearty cheer. The Bruins no doubt gave their best effort in that 20 minutes, and the 12-6 shot advantage and complete domination of the puck indicates it’s working thus far.
The Bruins’ power play did generate a quality scoring chance, with Marchand creating space along the left wing before sending a pass to Krejci, who was crashing the net wide of the right post. The pass was tape to tape, but perhaps the ice conditions at the end of the period were just choppy enough to make it difficult for Krejci to redirect into the open net. Whatever the case may have been, Krejci was unable to score, letting a golden opportunity go by the boards.
The B”s will have 25 seconds of power play time to begin the second period, when they’ll hope to simply keep up the pace they established in the first. They have plenty to feel good about, but they’re smart enough to know that a one-goal lead can disappear in an instant. I wouldn’t expect a letdown at all when these two teams emerge from the locker rooms.
The Bruins’ suffocating forecheck and relentless presence in the offensive zone is on one hand impressive, but on the other hand, it makes you wonder where it was in Game 5. For the first two periods on Saturday night, the Bruins did not resemble anything like the team that’s on the ice tonight in Game 6. How frustrating that will be for the fan base will depend on tonight’s result, but it’s clear they’re following the right path thus far.
First period, 1:35, 1-0 Bruins: The Boston power play gets another chance, with Roszival going off for high sticking against Marchand.
First period, 4:01, 1-0: Two interesting plays have happened. The first came during the power play, when Crawford took a Krug shot off his mask. In the scramble for the rebound, Horton was clearly tripped by Hjalmarsson. The refs missed it and instead blew the play dead when Crawford removed his own mask, despite the Bruins’ having possession of the puck.
And just now, Shawn Thornton’s wrist shot hit Andrew Shaw in the face and deflected right to Thornton’s stick. Shaw went down and looked to be knocked out by the play, but because Thornton had the puck, the whistle shouldn’t have blown the play dead. But because of the way Shaw looked, the referee blew the whistle. Given that we’re humans, that one’s more understandable than the whistle after Crawford’s mask removal.
The Bruins continue to control the game, though Rask stood tall on a Frolik breakaway, and Boychuk and Ference got back to break up a potential 3-0n-1. Boston has been strong in all three zones.
First period, 9:20, 1-0 Bruins: The B’s continue to dominate the game, and though Tyler Seguin couldn’t bury a rebound in the midst of a big scrum in front of the net, he does draw a tripping call on Johnny Oduya. B’s to the power play.
First period, 12:41, 1-0 Bruins: It took just seven seconds from the last post for the Bruins to make me look smart.
Chris Kelly won an offensive zone draw, and after a four-man race to the puck, Tyler Seguin gloved it down in the slot and backhand a pass to Chris Kelly, who buried his second goal of the series.
First period, 12:48, 0-0: It’s all Bruins early here in Game 6. The B’s lead in shots 4-1, and really it’s looked like the ice has been tilted to start this one. Every Bruin has had two good shifts to start the game, all the way to the third D pairing. It hasn’t led to a goal, but this is exactly the pace the Bruins want and need tonight.
First period 17:17, 0-0: Bergeron watch — he looks OK. He twice threw his body around in his first shift, perhaps an indication that he’s feeling OK.
First period, 20:00: Milan Lucic is out there for the opening draw, and the final hockey game in Boston this season is under way.
8:20 p.m.: The Krejci line will be out there to start the game, as will Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg. They were briefly broken up in Game 5, but they’re back together tonight.
8:14 p.m.: All postseason long, the Bruins have used a “Boston Strong” theme to their fan banner captains. Tonight, Jeff Bauman, Carlos Arredondo and members of the Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, Watertown Police and Boston Fire Department were out on the ice to wave the banner and kick off the pregame festivities.
7:56 p.m.: The two teams are just about done with their warmups, and the good news for the Bruins is that Patrice Bergeron was out there and looked like his normal self. He took line rushes with Jagr and Marchand, however he did the leave the ice a little earlier than he usually does. Jaromir Jagr is usually the first player off the ice, and Bergeron wasn’t far behind Jagr tonight. That early exit is enough to leave some room for doubt if he actually plays tonight, so we’ll know for sure soon.
5:30 p.m.: Man, it’s hot out there. The good news is it’s cold in here, and the ice is not one giant swimming pool — at least not from my vantage point up here on Level 9.
It’s clear the Bruins and TD Garden staff have worked hard to try to get this place as cold as possible. With the temperature at 93 degrees outside, that’s no easy task. In fact, in the past five minutes alone, I’ve seen a Zamboni finish up on the ice and another go back out to apply another fresh coat. It’s all hands on deck as the crews try to battle against Mother Nature.
4 p.m.: The TD Garden will have a special guest tonight, and as far as the Bruins are concerned, it is not welcome.
The Stanley Cup, in all its glory, will be brought into this arena tonight, with the Blackhawks one win away from winning hockey’s ultimate prize.
The Bruins, obviously, don’t want to see that happen, and it’ll take a focused 60-minute (or longer) effort to ensure there will be no opponents celebrating a Stanley Cup party on Boston’s home ice.
And that ice is sure to be a topic of conversation tonight. With Boston in the midst of a heat wave, a noticeable level of fog hovered above the ice for the Bruins’ morning skate. While the TD Garden crew went to extra efforts to improve the ice quality after Game 3, there is the simple reality of it being very difficult to create great ice in 90-degree heat. How the puck bounces — and whether players wipe out — will likely play a significant factor tonight, so keep an eye on that.
As for the Bruins, well, if they don’t come out hard for this one, their season will be over. I think we’ve seen enough from this group to at least expect them to put up a fight.
Based on news from the morning, it looks like both Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews will play tonight. How effective they are, with both dealing with unconfirmed yet easy-to-speculate injuries, will remain to be seen, but there’s no doubt that their presence on the ice will be a huge boost to their teams.
I’ll keep a close eye on warmups when they finally hit the ice here to see if any changes look imminent, and I’ll also be providing any relevant updates leading up to that point. Stick with the live blog throughout the game for commentary from the TD Garden, as the Bruins try to keep their season alive.