The Chicago Blackhawks were without Marian Hossa on Monday night when they played the Boston Bruins, but it's unlikely that his presence would have helped, as they looked overwhelmed by a Boston onslaught in a 2-0 loss.
We'll have plenty of reaction to the loss in the days to come on the blog, but for now, here are Monday's Three Stars:
Third Star: Brandon Saad
Saad may not have appeared on the scoresheet in this game, but his effort was one of the few bright spots for a Hawks team that looked exhausted.
In the game, he was consistently skating with a great deal of speed, was backchecking aggressively in the neutral zone, and even used his speed to draw a penalty while the Blackhawks were on the penalty kill in the third period.
Saad, who has been held to only one playoff goal, isn't that way for lack of trying. His effort level has been high throughout, and head coach Joel Quenneville certainly recognizes that, and has been putting him with teammates like Jonathan Toews and others who give him a chance to succeed.
Second Star: Michael Frolik
Frolik has been a dominant penalty killer for the Hawks throughout the playoffs, and while he excelled in that area in Game 3, it was his play at even strength that stood out.
In the first period, Frolik was out on the Hawks' top line with Toews and Marcus Kruger, and while there were plenty of skeptical responses to that move by Quenneville, it actually looked rather effective. Frolik's speed and strong puck possession ability both came in handy at intervals throughout the contest, and he looked like the guy that the Hawks thought they had acquired back in 2011.
Obviously the stat sheet speaks more loudly in the aftermath of the game than the eye test does, but no matter what, Frolik has been one of the best Hawks in a series in which some players simply haven't been carrying their weight.
First Star: Corey Crawford
Crawford was left out to dry more times than anyone could possibly count on Monday night, but throughout the contest he maintained his composure, and the fact the Hawks even had a remote chance of coming back in the contest was due in large part to their goaltender.
Coming into the Final series, Crawford was largely viewed as inferior to Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, but he has proven that he definitely belongs on the same ice as Rask, and he'll need to remain on top of his game if the Hawks have any shot of tying the series on Wednesday.