Some quick thoughts on last night’s shutout victory:
- Third line strikes again I’m not sure what it is about the new third line of Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, and Tyler Seguin, but they’ve got something good going on. Perhaps it’s the fact that all three have great speed, and are using it to their advantage? At times, they’ve buzzed around the offensive zone, almost daring the Chicago checkers to keep up. Paille and Kelly are also tremendously responsible defensively, and that has combined with Seguin’s playmaking skill to be deadly on the counterattack. Seguin has looked better and better as this series has gone on. He’s close to breaking through.
- Ho hum, another solid night from Rask It’s getting to be almost routine now, isn’t it? Tuukka Rask comes up big again, making the big stops when called upon and not making any mistakes. Rask now leads the postseason in wins, shots face, saves, save percentage, goals against average, and shutouts. He wasn’t tested nearly as often last night as he was early in Game 2, but he was ready when he needed to be. He was also excellent at controlling his rebounds and at playing the puck when it was dumped in. Simply put, Rask was stellar. Again.
- Hawks trying too hard? The Bruins did a great job of limiting the Blackhawks’ scoring chances last night, but the Hawks also did a great job of limiting themselves. They had three or four prime scoring chances from the slot, and seemed to either pass up on the shot or miss the net every time. Is Rask in their heads? Yes, I think he is, to an extent. By that, I mean that Rask has been so solid that they’re trying to make the perfect shot every time. Rather than think “just get it on net and go for a rebound,” players like Patrick Kane are aiming for a tiny spot in the net where they think Rask can’t get to it. Sure, all players shoot to score. But all players also shoot just to get the puck on net a lot of the time, and whatever happens from there is great. My point is that the Hawks may be fine-tuning their shots a little too much, going for the perfect shot rather than a good shot.
- Bad ice It can probably be chalked up to the humidity and crappy weather outside combining with the heat inside the arena, but the ice at the Garden looked pretty bad last night. In fact, Rask said the ice was “shitty,” and he would know. The bad ice led to a 3-on-1 being fumbled by Kaspars Daugavins, a few rare turnovers from Zdeno Chara, and a failed breakaway from Brad Marchand. Such are the perils of playing hockey in June, but it’ll be up to the players to make the sure plays rather than the hope plays.
- Bad Bolland Dave Bolland had himself a tough evening. The Blackhawk agitator/Canuck killer took three minor penalties, was a minus-1, and got his stick lifted immediately before the Paille goal. Ouch.