The defending Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, made their way into the TD Garden tonight to face the Bruins. Coming into the game, Chicago had 90 points and held the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. This team has made several changes from their roster last season and they had to play a portion of this season without one of their most porductive players in Patrick Sharp due to a knee injury.
On the Bruins side, they are just one game removed from a hard fought victory of the Philadelphia Flyers. The Bruins needed to come out playing strong, especially getting production from their first line (David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton). In fact, those three players lead the team in all three offensive categories respectively: Krejci leads the team in assists (48), Lucic in goals (30), and Horton in +/- (+29).
The game began with Boston coming on quite strong. They were definately the more dominant team in the first 20 minutes. They had the higher number of scoring chances and they executed their set plays to perfection (one of which they almost scored off of after Zdeno Chara sent a nice pass through the Chicago defense to a rotating Brad Marchand, but the shot was blocked). Boston had 12 shots on goal and won 11 faceoffs whereas Chicago had five shots on goal and won six faceoffs. Even though the period was that one-sided, there was no score after the first period because of great goaltending from Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Things got a little chippy in the second period. Some extra ciricular activity on both sides of the ice came as a result of some big hits and some trash talk. Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton took a skate to the forehead leaving blood all over the ice. Despite that setback, the Bruins scored two goals in the period and both were by defensemen. Zdeno Chara scored his 14th of the season and Johnny Boychuk scored his third of the season. Two forwards at the assists on each goal (Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand for Chara's goal and Mark Recchi and Milan Lucic for Boychuk's goal). Usually you have the defense assisting the forwards. Either way the forwards still played key roles in both goals. At the end of two periods, Boston had a two goal lead.
In the third period, the fatigue was beginning to show in the Blackhawks. They played a hard game last night against the Detroit Red Wings and that took its toll. Nathan Horton added a goal in this period to give Boston a 3-0 lead and that is how the game would end. Boston goaltender Tim Thomas picked up his ninth shutout of the season.
Gold Star: Tim Thomas (32 saves on 32 shots, 1.00 save percentage)
Black Star: David Krejci...he did not have an impact in this game at all. As a puck mover, he needs to do a better job of distributing the puck like we know he can do. Tonight, most of the puck moving came from the defense.