Final, 3-0 Bruins: That’s all she wrote. The Bruins pick up hard-fought 3-0 victory, and Tuukka Rask picks up his NHL-best seventh shutout on the strength of 28 saves on 28 shots.
It certainly does nothing to change the events of last June, but tonight, the folks here at the Garden sure are happy.
Third period, 2:55, 3-0 Bruins: If Rask is going to get this shutout, he’s going to have to earn it. He just did with a snazzy glove save on a 35-foot wrister from Jeremy Morin.
Third period, 6:58, 3-0 Bruins: We’re less than seven minutes away from Rask picking up his seventh shutout of the year. He already leads the league, but he’d build a two-shutout cushion with one tonight.
Rask has 25 saves so far tonight.
Third period, 12:36, 3-0 Bruins: The Hawks won an offensive zone faceoff, and they’ll be heading on the power play now after a hooking penalty called on Chris Kelly.
Third period, 14:19, 3-0 Bruins: A 2-0 lead turned into a 3-0 in a matter of seconds, and the Bruins are running away with it.
Crawford left his spot to go behind the net, but he might not have known that Marchand was there to send a pass toward the front. Bergeron took Marchand’s pass and buried it, but it was initially ruled no goal. However, replay showed that Crawford was the one who dislodged the net, and the goal stood.
Third period, 14:32, 2-0 Bruins: You can double that lead for Boston, as Johnny Boychuk’s long wrister was blocked in front and Carl Soderberg was in the right place at the right time to bury the rebound. It’s 2-0 Bruins. Chris Kelly planting himself in front helped create the chaos necessary for that one.
Soderberg put on one of his patented subdued celebrations.
Third period, 20:00, 1-0 Bruins: Third period is under way. The Bruins are 37-2-0 this season when leading after two periods. The Blackhawks are 5-11-5 when trailing after two.
End of second period, 1-0 Bruins: The score remains the same at the end of the second period, though the Blackhawks did nearly net the equalizer. It was Bollig, hyped up off that scrum perhaps, who fired a wrister that made its way through Rask’s glove. The puck crept just wide, however.
With a minute left in the period, Rask lost his stick behind the net and then failed to cover up a loose puck, leaving himself in a vulnerable position. Yet Chara cleared that one out, and the Bruins remain in the lead.
The Blackhakws outshot the Bruins 9-6 in that period, but the Bruins own a 35-27 advantage in shot attempts. Take that for what it’s worth though, because the Bruins have missed the net nine times.
The always-trusty hits stat says the Bruins have been the more physical team, as they own a 23-10 advantage.
Duncan Keith has an absurd 17:33 of ice time, which is most among all skaters.
Second period, 2:55, 1-0 Bruins: For the first time all night, there’s a mini-scrum after a whistle, this one starting with Brandon Bollig and Zdeno Chara exchanging shoves, followed by Bollig yapping at Krejci and Bollig yapping at Lucic. Clearly, Bollig’s got some fire in him.
The Bruins had a golden opportunity minutes before, with Carl Soderberg carrying the puck into the zone on a 2-on-1 with Chris Kelly. Soderberg showed great patience to wait for Dougie Hamilton to join in the high slot, but after Soderberg fed Hamilton, the D men missed high and wide. He had some room to pick there, he just missed.
Second period, 7:07, 1-0 Bruins: The ice is starting to tilt toward the Chicago end, with the Bruins applying heavy pressure from all four lines. Reilly Smith and Brad Marchand nearly connected on a nifty play from the corner, and the Krejci line kept up the pressure in the shift that followed.
Crawford’s been good, though, and the Blackhawks remain one moment away from tying it.
One thing that’s really evident in the Blackhawks is that without the injured Patrick Kane, they’re missing a whole lot. They’re almost … ordinary. Kane can be that good.
Second period, 13:25, 1-0 Bruins: The even play continues, with Chicago holding a small 3-1 shot advantage early on.
Second period, 20:00, 1-0 Bruins: The second period has begun in Boston.
End of first period, 1-0 Bruins: No power-play goal for the Bruins, who will have just 12 seconds of PP time left when the second period resumes.
That was a fairly quiet period, with the Blackhawks coming out stronger but both teams playing a pretty even matchup after that. There’s not any hate at all out there, which stands out in contrast to Boston’s game against Montreal on this ice on Monday.
The Bruins all said as much, but their play tonight has proven them to not be liars. It’s been an honest, respectful game from both sides thus far.
First period, 1:48, 1-0 Bruins: Boston will get a big chance to double that lead before intermission, as the Blackhawks lost track of David Krejci, who was barreling down the slot. Niklas Hjalmarsson (whose name is NOT easy to spell in a live blog) tripepd Krejci and heads to the box for two.
First period, 3:59, 1-0 Bruins: Play has leveled off a bit since the Boston goal, with the teams exchanging icings and not generating much through the neutral zone.
First period, 8:10, 1-0 Bruins: The Bruins bounced back from a sluggish start to play a more precise game, and they now have a 1-0 lead to prove it.
Matt Bartkowski sent a very purposeful shot from the blue line toward net, where Patrice Bergeron casually deflected the puck up over the left shoulder of Corey Crawford.
Bergeron now has goals in five straight games, which is the best such streak of his career.
First period, 15:03, 0-0: The B’s kill the penalty, but the Blackhawks have the definitive advantage early on. They’re skating with an extra hop in their step and making plays in the offensive end, while the Bruins are playing catch-up.
First period, 18:22, 0-0: The Blackhawks are going to get an early power play, as Patrick Sharp entered the Boston zone with speed and was held up by Matt Bartkowski. Fair call there, as Bart did all he could to slow down Sharp.
First period, 20:00: We are under way in Boston.
7:05 p.m.: Here are your Bruins starters:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Reilly Smith
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
7 p.m.: Here are your Chicago starters tonight:
Kris Versteeg-Jonathan Toews-Marian Hossa
Niklas Hjalmarsson-Johnny Oduya
6:48 p.m.: The warmups have concluded, where the Bruins wore hats of the Boston Fire Department to show their respect for the two firefighters — Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy — who lost their lives yesterday.
It looks like Andrej Meszaros will be the healthy scratch again on defense for Boston.
6 p.m.: The last time the Chicago Blackhawks were here in the TD Garden, they were accompanied by the Stanley Cup and a whole lot of adult beverages.
Much less is at stake this time around, as the Bruins and Blackhawks will meet for just the second time this season — and first in Boston — tonight.
The Bruins, with 104 points, are on their way to taking the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Blackhawks look like they’re headed toward a first-round matchup with Colorado, barring anything crazy happening in the next few weeks.
Still, while the Bruins certainly cannot win a Stanley Cup tonight, they can use the game as a test against one of the best teams in the NHL. The last time these two teams met on Jan. 19, the Blackhawks won in a shootout, with Patrick Kane beating Tuukka Rask for the shootout winner.
That victory made the Hawks a 32-8-11 team at the time, but they’re 10-8-4 since then. Kane is out for the rest of the regular season with a leg injury, and they’re certainly not functioning at full speed right now.
Yet the return to this building is sure to give the whole team a charge, and the Bruins know they’ll have to be at their best if they want to come away with two points tonight.
I’ll have any pertinent updates from warmups right here, and I’ll be updating with analysis and commentary throughout the game. Follow along, won’t ya?