Riding the momentum of two goals in 13 seconds in the third period, the Boston Bruins shut out the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 3-0 on Thursday night in Boston. Tuukka Rask stopped all 28 shots he faced, and Patrice Bergeron scored twice for the Bruins in the winning effort.
The game got off to an intense start for both teams, with the Blackhawks getting the majority of the early chances. Ben Smith picked up a great chance in the opening minutes when he deflected a Brandon Saad shot on goal, but Tuukka Rask was up to the task. The Hawks did get a power play out of the intense early pressure, but they couldn’t get anything going on the man-advantage as the Bruins clamped down defensively.
Just after the halfway point of the period though, the tide started to turn in favor of the Bruins, and they got on the board first. Establishing possession in the offensive zone, Daniel Paille pushed the puck out to the point, and Matt Bartkowski fired a shot towards the net. Patrice Bergeron came gliding across the zone and managed to get his stick blade on the shot to deflect it past Corey Crawford, and the Bruins grabbed a 1-0 lead with about eight minutes remaining in the first period.
Late in the frame, the Bruins kept ratcheting up the pressure, and they ended up getting a late power play when Niklas Hjalmarsson was sent to the penalty box for tripping. They fired several shots in from the point to take advantage of netfront traffic, but Crawford was able to fight his way through the screens and made several big saves as the game remained 1-0 as the first period horn sounded.
As the second period began, the Blackhawks started to fight their way back and established some good momentum. Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw really stepped up in those opening minutes, getting quality possessions going and putting a lot of pressure on Rask, but they weren’t able to force a puck home as the Bruins held onto the lead.
The Bruins came roaring back a few minutes later with several good chances of their own, and it was only a tremendous effort from Crawford that kept his team within a goal. Reilly Smith hammered in a shot on Crawford from the slot, and the puck ended up bouncing high up in the air. Hjalmarsson missed on an attempt to clear it from the front of the crease, and David Krejci got a great whack at the puck. Crawford was able to fight the shot off and made a tremendous glove save to keep the game at 1-0.
Late in the period, the Bruins and Blackhawks exchanged some grade-A chances. Chris Kelly got the first one as he grabbed a tremendous pass on a 3-on-1 rush, but Crawford jumped out to the top of the crease to challenge the shooter, and Kelly fired it just wide of the cage. The Hawks’ fourth line, reunited in an attempt by Joel Quenneville to spark the offense, got some great possession about a minute later, but a Ben Smith shot was barely stopped by Rask to keep his team ahead as the second period came to an end.
After a Brandon Saad chance early in the period, the Bruins right back into their dominating puck possession game, and they ended up extending their lead. After Brandon Bollig’s poor clearing attempt was stolen at the point by Johnny Boychuk, Kelly fired a shot toward the goal. The puck hit traffic and stopped, but Carl Soderberg skated in unmarked and scored his 14th goal of the season to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
Just 13 seconds later, the Bruins extended their lead. Crawford mishandled a puck behind the net, and slowly slid a puck toward Niklas Hjalmarsson. Brad Marchand made the steal, and despite Crawford’s attempt to push the net off its moorings, Bergeron scored his second goal of the game to put Boston ahead by a commanding three goals.
The Blackhawks did get a power play a little bit later after a couple of good scoring chances, but Rask made several big saves. Seabrook himself was the primary offensive catalyst for the Hawks in the sequence, but Rask stopped both shots from the slot. Saad also had a good chance from between the dots, but Rask kicked it just wide as the power play expired.
The Blackhawks weren’t able to get many chances as the period wore on, and Quenneville’s continued line changes didn’t really spark the offense at all. Jeremy Morin and Teuvo Teravainen both had a couple of shots at the net, but Rask was able to turn away the one-and-done chances easily as the Bruins coasted to victory.