The Boston Bruins took a 2-1 series lead on the Chicago Blackhawks last night with a 2-0 victory in game 3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Once again both teams played an even first period, but as the game continued the Bruins became the dominant team.
Number Five: Game Starts
In all three games the Blackhawks have come out as the top team before the Bruins settle in and start to roll. This was most evident in game 2, but last night’s game 3 showed it again. Both teams were scoreless after one period and the Blackhawks had two PP chances, in which they converted neither. The Bruins would score twice in the second period and after that, it never felt like Chicago was in it.
Number Four: Tuukka Thomas?
Tuukka Rask now has better numbers than Tim Thomas had in his 2011 Cup run. Thomas had a goals against average of 1.94 while Rask is sporting one of 1.68. Rask also has the better save percentage but Thomas has one thing that Rask doesn’t; 16 wins. Rask has just two more to go, but let’s complete these comparisons if/when he gets there.
Number Three: Jaromir Jagr
Jagr has not been much of a contributor on the score sheet at all but his presence is certainly there. He picked up a power play assist on Patrice Bergeron’s goal in the second period on a terrific pas across the crease that tipped off of Milan Lucic. However the most important thing Jagr has done thus far has been his puck possession ability, not being fought off the puck and winning battles that lead to goals because of it. Scoring or not, Jagr has been as important as anyone in this series.
Number Two: Third-Line Stardom
There is a new third line in town and once again it came up with a big goal. After Daniel Paille’s overtime game winner in game 2, Paille was back on a line that consisted of Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin. Once again, Paille put the puck in the back of the net for the second time in the Cup and continuing his career season in a Bruins uniform.
Number One: Zdeno Chara
Chara appeared to be injured in the pre game skate after tripping over Lucic, but was in the lineup at game time. He made a tremendous impact in the game, not just on the score sheet, with an unparallelled physicality in front of the net stopping the Blackhawks from even thinking about tips in front of the crease. On the score sheet, Chara did have one assist on the night and led the team in time on ice with 25:47. He was also involved in the scrum near the end of the game where he once again created a defensive presence that has given the Bruins an edge.
Game 4 will be played in Boston on Wednesday night as the Bruins have a chance to take a 3-1 lead on the Blackhawks, the top seed in the NHL playoffs.