Boston, MA – Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the playoffs to lead the Boston Bruins in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals from TD Garden.
After splitting a pair of overtime games in Chicago, Boston got second period goals from Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron, then turned to its goaltender in the third period to preserve the lead for a 2-1 advantage in this best-of- seven series.
Chicago, meanwhile, has dropped the past two games after winning the opener in triple-overtime despite 33 saves from Corey Crawford on Monday.
The team had trouble generating any quality offensive chances, going 0-for-5 on the power play, due in part to Marian Hossa missing Game 3 as a late scratch.
It was originally reported that Hossa had suffered an injury during the pre- game warmups, but Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that Hossa suffered an upper-body injury before the warmups and he is day-to-day. He was replaced by Ben Smith, who played in one game in the regular season.
"We'll say day-to-day," said Quenneville. "We're hopeful he'll be ready for the next game. It was a game-time decision after the warmup there. That's when we made the call, after warmup."
Game 4 will take place on Wednesday night in Boston.
Boston controlled play for much of the first period and began the second the same way, finally breaking through just 2:13 in.
Crawford, who made 11 saves in the first frame, continued to bail his team out when he made a nice glove stop on a Tyler Seguin shot from the slot, but play continued in the Boston end.
Dave Bolland attempted to get the puck along the bottom of the right circle, but Paille lifted his stick and spun around for a shot that found the back of the net for his fourth of the playoffs and a 1-0 lead.
Chicago had a good opportunity when Brent Seabrook grabbed a bad clear at the right point and sent a slap-pass over to the left side where Patrick Kane got a shot on net, but Rask saw it all the way and made the stop 7 1/2 minutes in.
The Bruins got their first power play of the game 12 minutes into the second period after Bolland was called for cross-checking for bringing Chris Kelly down.
Boston had a chance when Paille came flying through the neutral zone and tried to get a shot on net from the left wing, but he was upended by Niklas Hjalmarsson, who was whistled for tripping to give the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 advantage.
The two-man advantage was only for 10 seconds and the first penalty expired before Boston was able to cash in, but Bolland was just coming out of the box when the Bruins made it 2-0.
Zdeno Chara had the puck at the right point as the Bolland infraction ticked away, and passed it down low to the right side of the net. From there, Jaromir Jagr fired it across the goal mouth to the left side where Bergeron gathered the puck and flung it home for a 2-0 lead with 5:55 left in the second period.
The point was the 197th for Jagr in his postseason career, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the NHL's all-time list, one ahead of Paul Coffey.
Rask made a good save on a Smith shot late in the first period and had 18 saves through the first two frames to keep Chicago off the board.
"I mean, they had shots, but most of them came from the outside," said Rask. "We eliminated a lot of those rebound opportunities. I think that's something that every team likes to do, and we succeeded today."
Bolland was whistled for tripping with one minute to play in the second period, but Boston was unable to make the most of the opportunity before time expired.
The Blackhawks came out skating in the third period and got several shots on net, but Rask preserved the lead with nice saves on Duncan Keith and Bryan Bickell in the first half of the frame
Chicago got its third power play of the game when Adam McQuaid hauled down Marcus Kruger with 12:04 to play, but it passed without a shot on net and a penalty to David Krejci at 15:55 was also killed off.
"We know they've got some great players on that other team," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "Our penalty kill has to be at its best. It's really got better as the playoffs went on. But we really picked it up against Pittsburgh for the same reasons, same kind of a dangerous power play. Again, it just continues to give us some help in these games."
The Blackhawks got Crawford out of the net with under two minutes to play and nearly cut the lead in half when Bickell beat Rask with a shot, but it caught the right post and stayed out of the net inside the final minute.
A scrum at the end gave Chicago another power play and the team spent the final 11 seconds on a 6-on-4, but time expired before the Blackhawks could get any through.
"They box you out. They got big bodies. They blocked shots," said Quenneville about the power play. "I think we had some chances to get some pucks through the net, we didn't. Our entries weren't great. That's something you want to look at."
It was all Boston at the beginning of the game as the team kept the pressure in the Chicago end but was unable to cash in.
Crawford made a pair of tough saves, including a right circle shot from Kelly two minutes in, and a low shot from Bergeron just over four minutes in.
Chicago had just three shots through the first 10 minutes, but got the first power play of the game when Kaspars Daugavins threw an elbow to the head of Andrew Shaw and was whistled for roughing at 9:57.
The Boston penalty kill, though, did its job, holding Chicago to zero shots on the advantage.
Boston found itself shorthanded again after Shawn Thornton was called for roughing at 14:15, but most of the play during the shorthanded situation took place in the Chicago end, which included a short break from Brad Marchand that saw him lose the puck off his stick before getting a shot off.
Chicago is 0-for-11 on the power play in the series as Boston has killed off 27 straight power plays in the postseason ... Jagr is the only player not to have worn an Edmonton uniform in the top-five in playoff points. Wayne Gretzky (382), Mark Messier (295), Jari Kurri (233) and Glenn Anderson (214) are in spots 1-4 ... Boston went 1-for-4 on the power play and is 2-for-9 in the series ... No Stanley Cup Finals series has seen three straight overtime games since Montreal and Toronto played all five games in extra sessions in 1951. Toronto won the series, 4-1 ... Boston is 8-2 at home in the playoffs this season while Chicago fell to 3-5 on the road ... This series marks the first time Original Six franchises have met in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1979, when Montreal defeated the New York Rangers in five games ... Boston has won five of the six postseason meetings with Chicago.