Observations From Section 321 : Boston's Third Stage

Bruins take down the Hawks 2-0 to grab a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

For whatever reason the Blackhawks blow in Game 3's this year. It wasn't great on Monday night but all things considered it could have been a hell of lot worse. Unless I missed something in the new CBA, the Stanley Cup Final is not a best 2 out of 3 series. There is a ton of series left and the Hawks now have to come out and play their best game of the series to do exactly what they needed to do, split the two games in Boston. There is no way the Hawks are going to lay down and die, they will come out on Wednesday as a desperate team, but can they uphold it for the entire game? Ever since the midway point of Game 2, the Bruins have pretty much dictated the play on the ice. The Hawks have shown flashes of getting their legs but haven't been able to maintain it. Having a power play that just kicks you in the balls every time on the ice is not helping at all.

The Blackhawks 1st period started with the surprise announcement that Marian Hossa was out of the lineup. Word at the time was that he got hit with a slap shot in warm ups. So in steps Ben Smith, the Game 6 hero against the Canucks in 2011. There have been a lot of people who have wanted to see Smith in the lineup this post season, but I am sure this wasn't the way they wanted it. I will give credit to Q for giving Smith the shot over Daniel Carcillo or Brandon Bollig. As expected the Bruins came out with a full head of steam, out shooting the Hawks 5-1 to start the game. The Blackhawks power play continues to stink out the joint. The Hawks got two chances on the man advantage but the Bruins got more scoring chances, while short handed, than the Chicago power play unit could come up with. The Bruins out shot the Hawks 11-10 in the opening frame and won 16 of the 21 faceoffs.

The Blackhawks came out in the 2nd period and got beat at every turn. The newest card carrying member of the Blackhawks killer club, Daniel Paille got the Bruins the 1-0 lead, at 2:13, after some sloppy play from the Hawks in their own end. Michal Rozsival passed blindly to Dave Bolland, who got his stick lifted. Ben Smith got caught standing still and Paille ripped the shot over Corey Crawford's glove. The Bruins added a second goal seconds after a 5 on 3 expired, at 14:05. Before Bolland could join the play from the penalty box, Boston executed a perfect back door pass and Patrice Beregon was able slam the puck home for his 7th goal of the post season. Bolland would continue his shit storm of a period by adding a bad unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with a minute to go in the 2nd.

Much of the same continued into a scoreless 3rd period. The Hawks would get a few chances but could not convert. They would get two more chances on the power play but we all know how that has been working out of late. Again, this series is far from over, but a better effort will be needed on Wednesday. Late word coming across that Marian Hossa is day to day with an upper body injury. Q said he is "hopeful" Game 4.

* The topic of the power play will be discussed ad nauseum during the off day. The Blackhawks power play is an embarrassment and it is killing them right now. They have to find a way to get some production out of this unit. It starts with the entry, which just sucks right. They either need Nick Leddy out there to carry the puck in or they have to dump the puck deep and win some damn puck battles. Keep it simple and get pucks to the net. Patrick Sharp taking the puck and skating backwards as far away from the net as possible is not a good look.

* Losing Marian Hossa right before the puck drop is a huge deal. Q could not find any type of line combination he was comfortable with. The only time he put Kane and Toews together was on a late penalty kill, and they produced a scoring chance. DDN should have been together the second the Bruins went up 2-0.

* For all the grief Jonathan Toews has been getting in national media for his lack of production, he shows how valuable he is because Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane are ghosts when they are not on his line. Bickell-Toews-Kane needs to be a thing in Game 4.

* Dave Bolland.......yuck. That was fun while it lasted.

* The Blackhawks took way too many shots from the outside. They need to find a way to get to the middle of the ice. They also seemed way too tentative out there. Both Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith had time and space but chose to hold on to the puck too long before shooting. Two of the better scoring chances they had all night were shot wide of the net by Kane and, stop me if you've heard this one before, Viktor Stalberg.

* The faceoff numbers are God awful. The Blackhawks won just 29% of the faceoffs tonight. 29 flippin' percent!! If this doesn't change, it's going to be a long night on Wednesday.

* If you want a bright spot heading into the Game 4, look at the Corsi numbers. They show, that for the most part, the Hawks are the better team 5 on 5. They need to get better shots on Rask and maybe, just maybe some production from the power play.

Blackhawks Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 18:09 22 14 +8 +7 +5
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 14:22 17 6 +11 +2 +10
Brent Seabrook D 17:00 18 19 -1 +5 -3
Nick Leddy D 11:12 8 13 -5 0 -5
Patrick Sharp R 12:42 14 10 +4 +3 +3
Marcus Kruger C 10:20 14 6 +8 -1 +8
Jonathan Toews C 12:24 17 9 +8 +1 +8
Brandon Saad L 13:37 13 13 0 +7 -3
Viktor Stalberg L 10:50 12 9 +3 +1 +3
Michal Handzus C 10:59 8 12 -4 +7 -7
Johnny Oduya D 16:16 16 10 +6 +2 +5
Ben Smith R 10:23 9 10 -1 +1 -1
Bryan Bickell L 9:21 11 7 +4 0 +4
Michal Rozsival D 14:29 13 12 +1 +2 +0
Dave Bolland C 11:38 11 8 +3 +1 +3
Andrew Shaw C 11:10 8 10 -2 +1 -2
Michael Frolik R 9:40 13 5 +8 -1 +8
Patrick Kane R 15:44 14 12 +2 +8 -1

Bruins Corsi Numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Kaspars Daugavins L 6:30 7 3 +4 +1 +4
Milan Lucic L 15:26 6 19 -13 -2 -12
Nathan Horton R 11:39 4 11 -7 0 -7
Tyler Seguin C 11:22 9 12 -3 0 -3
Daniel Paille L 11:47 9 9 0 -1 +0
Andrew Ference D 18:25 11 25 -14 -5 -12
Shawn Thornton L 6:27 6 6 0 +1 -0
Chris Kelly C 15:00 10 14 -4 -2 -3
Zdeno Chara D 18:02 15 17 -2 -6 +0
Patrice Bergeron C 12:55 16 15 +1 -9 +5
Dennis Seidenberg D 18:45 13 19 -6 -5 -4
David Krejci C 14:53 6 20 -14 -3 -13
Torey Krug D 8:47 11 5 +6 +2 +5
Rich Peverley C 8:11 9 4 +5 -1 +5
Adam Mcquaid D 11:11 13 9 +4 +1 +4
Johnny Boychuk D 16:26 11 19 -8 -5 -6
Brad Marchand C 10:40 15 15 0 -6 +2
Jaromir Jagr R 12:14 14 13 +1 -5 +3