Final, 3-0 Bruins: The beatdown is over, and the Bruins now lead the series 2-1.
That was a thorough victory from start to finish, and the Wings were never really in this one.
Rask recorded his fourth career shutout in his 38th career playoff game. Hamilton and Caron scored their first career playoff goals, and Bergeron scored his 21st.
We’ll see you Thursday night for Game 4.
Third period, 1:59, 3-0 Bruins: That’ll do it. Patrice Bergeron scores on the empty net from about 185 feet away, after Rask made an incredibly subtle but mighty difficult toe save on Pavel Datsyuk.
Just two minutes stand in the way of a 2-1 series lead for Boston.
Third period, 2:56, 2-0 Bruins: Final minutes now here, the situation looks good for the Bruins. Milan Lucic just missed the net on a 3-on-2, leading to a Detroit rush the other way, but the Bruins recovered from that mistake.
The net is now empty for Detroit.
Third period, 8:02, 2-0 Bruins: The B’s kill the penalty, thanks to Tuukka Rask and a big shot block by Brad Marchand.
At the end of the power play, Rask and Tatar got tangled up with each other in front of the Boston net, but just like on Sunday, the striped shirts got between them.
Third period, 10:03, 2-0 Bruins: We can argue a lot of calls in these NHL playoffs, but not this one. Kevan Miller just flipped a puck over the glass in the defensive end, and Detroit is getting a power play here at the midway point of the third. Biggest moment of the night upcoming.
Third period, 13:07, 2-0 Bruins: Tuukka Rask absolutely robbed Justin Abdelkader with a diving glove save to keep this score at 2-0. That’s one that ought to be starred and remembered as the key moment of this third period. A goal there — and really, Detroit should have had one — and this game completely changes. Huge save by Rask.
Third period, 17:42, 2-0 Bruins: The B’s hit their second post of the night, this one off the stick of Brad Marchand. Carl Soderberg set up Marchand with a beauty of an opportunity, but Florek hit the post and the puck trickled back to Howard, who flopped desperately to try to make the save.
Third period, 20:00, 2-0 Bruins: With an eye on the 3-3 Lighting-Canadiens game up in Montreal, the Bruins and Red Wings get underway in Detroit. The winner of this series will get the winner of that series, so both the Bruins and the Red Wings would ideally want Tampa Bay to at least win tonight in order to extend that series and prevent the Habs from getting a ton of rest.
That’s maybe eighth or ninth on the list of things on their minds though. Right now, it’s this third period, and that’s about it.
End of second period, 2-0 Bruins: The Red Wings definitely used their power plays to generate some momentum, but the Bruins were able to withstand the push and they’ve been able to keep their 2-0 lead intact heading into the second intermission.
The Bruins still lead the Red Wings by a large margin in shots and attempts, but the Red Wings played some catch-up late in the period.
Rask has stopped all 16 shots that have made it on net, and the Bruins’ six blocked shots have helped keep that number low.
But the Bruins aren’t out of the woods yet, as a Detroit goal would be sure to electrify that crowd. The Bruins need to keep up their heavy, suffocating game and do what they can to add to that lead. As Pittsburgh, New York and Columbus showed in recent days, a two-goal lead isn’t always safe.
Second period, 6:22, 2-0 Bruins: The Red Wings generated some solid chances, but the Bruins stopped them all, both on the 35 seconds with a two-man advantage and the 1:25 of power play time that followed.
Detroit still trails in shots, 22-10, but the Wings at least gave themselves a few chances of scoring on the power plays. If Detroit can bury one before the end of the period, it ought to be a wild third.
Second period, 8:52, 2-0 Bruins: Justin Florek hopped over the boards a split-second too soon on the PK, and the B’s pick up a too many men penalty. The Wings have 35 seconds of a two-man advantage.
Second period, 10:17, 2-0 Bruins: A good sign for Boston, as Marchand has returned to the ice. It didn’t look great there for him when he needed to be helped off the ice, unable to put pressure on his left leg, but he’s good enough to get back out there.
On a less-than-positive note for the Bruins and Marchand, he’s now in the penalty box. Marchand clamped down on Gustav Nyquist’s stick, and with the refs hoping to give the Red Wings a power play at some point, it was enough for a penalty in this case.
Second period, 12:21, 2-0 Bruins: The Red Wings again got into shot blocking mode and killed the penalty, and then Darren Helm beat Rask on a rush up the ice. Rask had the post on his side, though, and the score remains 2-0.
Second period, 14:50, 2-0 Bruins: Momentum for Detroit? Not so much.
Brendan Smith is in the penalty box for kneeing Brad Marchand. The Bruins winger needed help to the bench, in clear pain in his left leg after the knee-on-knee hit.
The hit, at first glance, didn’t look like the dirty variety, but it’s nevertheless a scary play.
Second period, 15:30, 2-0 Bruins: The Red Wings get a positive for maybe the first time all night, blocking all of the Bruins’ shots on that power play and killing the penalty to Tatar. Can it translate into some momentum?
Second period, 17:33, 2-0 Bruins: Second verse, same as the first.
The Bruins are controlling the puck yet again this period, and Tomas Tatar now heads to the box for holding. Just a brutal effort right now from Detroit.
Second period, 20:00, 2-0 Bruins: Second period is underway in Detroit.
End of first period, 2-0 Bruins: The Red Wings head to their locker room hearing loud boos from their home fans. That’s all you need to know about the first period.
The Red Wings penalty kill appeared to be in a slumber on Dougie Hamilton’s goal, and the team made an awful line change that allowed Shawn Thornton to walk in all alone and set up the second goal. It was an abysmal effort, really, considering what’s at stake here.
The Red Wings have just 10 attempted shots, compared to the Bruins’ 22, and just four of those have made it on net (one was heading wide, another slid in at around 3 mph). The Red Wings have four giveaways as well, none bigger than Datsyuk’s mistake after skating behind his own net and picking up the primary assist on Hamilton’s goal.
The Red Wings are winning in the hits category, with 18 compared to Boston’s 10, but that’s a result of the Bruins owning the puck for almost the entire period. It was just a thoroughly dominant 20 minutes of ice hockey from the Boston Bruins.
First period, 4:12, 2-0 Bruins: Maybe the Bruins read my live blog? (Or maybe I was just speaking common sense.)
The Bruins just doubled their lead, thanks to Shawn Thornton breaking free behind a Detroit line change. Thornton wasn’t able to score on his partial breakaway, but Caron was there to clean up the rebound and score his first career playoff goal.
First period, 4:48, 1-0 Bruins: On the one hand, the Bruins have to feel good about absolutely dominating this game. Detroit just registered its third shot of the night, and none were real scoring chances.
At the same time, the Bruins can’t get too comfortable, because they’re one three-second stretch from being caught in a tie game in a raucous building.
The Bruins lead in shots, 8-3, and in shot attempts, 18-8.
First period, 11:00, 1-0 Bruins: Dougie Hamilton obviously has the hot hand tonight, as he just carried the puck from deep in his own zone, through the neutral zone and into the Detroit end before finding enough space to fire a wrister on net from the right faceoff dot. Hamilton’s top-shelf shot beat Howard above the right shoulder, and the Bruins lead 1-0.
First period, 12:20, 0-0: Dougie Hamilton very nearly silenced the Detroit crowd 3:30 into the game, but his shot rung iron and then bounced safely between Howard’s legs.
The shot came after a bad turnover by Pavel Datsyuk, and Hamilton fired a low wrister to Howard’s blocker side while coming down from the blue line to the top of the circle.
Carl Soderberg crashed the net for a rebound and ended up on top of Howard, and an old-fashioned fracas broke out, with Justin Abdelkader sending Jordan Caron flying. Those two went to the box for two minutes, opening up some ice with 4-on-4 play, but not too much action took place.
Now, the Bruins will head on the power play because Detroit had too many men on the ice. An early break for the Bruins, whose power play was strong on Sunday in Game 2.
First period, 20:00: After an octopus or two was thrown onto the ice during the national anthem, this one’s under way.
Datsyuk won the opening faceoff.
7:35 p.m.: Puck drop is just moments away. Claude Julien called upon his Patrice Bergeron line to start the game, and Mike Babcock countered with the Pavel Datsyuk line. That’s been the theme thus far in this series, and it’ll continue at least for the start of this one.
7:27 p.m.: According to the official roster sheet, Matt Bartkowski is back in the Boston lineup. Andrej Meszaros will be a spectator for this one.
Meszaros wasn’t bad in the first two games, so the fact that the Bruins feel good enough about Bartkowski to put him back in there is a good sign that they expect him to be at or near 100 percent.
7:04 p.m.: The Bruins and Red Wings are out on the ice for warmups at Joe Louis Arena. Matt Bartkowski is out there for the Bruins, who have seven D skating in warmups. Bartkowski was expected to be a game-time decision, so we’ll see what the call is on him in the next 20 minutes or so.
Daniel Paille is not on the ice, to nobody’s surprise.
6:30 p.m.: The Red Wings stole home ice from the Bruins over the weekend. Tonight, they’ll try to keep it, as the two teams face off for Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
The series is tied 1-1, after a 1-0 Red Wings win and Game 1 and a 4-1 Bruins response in Game 2.
How Game 3 goes is anybody’s guess.
If you’re in the business of prognosticating, you’ve probably made all sorts of predictions by now. But come on — this is playoff hockey. If you think you can predict what’s going to happen in these games, you’re nuts.
You’re much better off buckling up and getting ready for a wild night of hockey. We surely got that in Game 2, when the Red Wings decided to “Poke The Bear” and spark the Bruins in a physical game in which the Bruins won decidedly.
Of course, if the Red Wings could have buried a power-play goal or two, it would have been an entirely different story. Alas, the Wings went 0-for-4 on the man advantage, allowing Milan Lucic to stretch a 2-1 lead to 3-1 late in the second and Zdeno Chara to put the nail in the coffin with a power-play tally in the third.
While I won’t make any grand predictions, I will list two players to watch. The first is Gustsav Nyquist. He’s been quiet through two games — almost invisible, even — and that has to end. Obviously the Bruins are paying close attention to him, but he’s too good to be held down for the entire series. (I say that knowing that the Bruins silenced Crosby, Malkin and Iginla last year for four games, but bear with me.)
On the other end, Tuukka Rask looks beyond locked in. It took a bounce off a stick and then a glove to beat him in Game 2, and he’s stopped 57 of 59 shots so far in the series. He may be fully entered to one of those zones where it takes two bounces through screens in order to beat him. He’ll need to be sharp in Detroit, which was somewhat of a house of horrors for him this year. In his two starts at Joe Louis Arena this season, Rask posted an .813 save percentage and a 4.55 goals-against average. The Bruins lost both of those games.
As for this one, stick with the live blog throughout the pregame scene for the latest on who’s in and who’s out of the lineups. Then, stick with the live blog throughout the game for updates and analysis from the opening faceoff until the final whistle (or the double-OT goal).