NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, June 19th (All times Eastern)
(1-W) Chicago Blackhawks (1-2) at (4-E) Boston Bruins (2-1), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will try to take a commanding lead in the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday, as they host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 from TD Garden.
After losing Game 1 in a triple overtime, the Bruins have taken two in a row to grab a 2-1 edge in this best-of-seven set. Boston notched a 2-1 OT victory in Saturday's Game 2 battle in Chicago and then recorded a 2-0 triumph in Monday's clash at TD Garden.
Chicago had its worst outing of the series in Game 3, but this year's Presidents' Trophy winners have a chance to tie the series on Wednesday. If the Blackhawks lose Game 4, however, they'll be faced with an elimination game when the teams meet again in Chicago on Saturday.
Boston is 8-2 at home in the playoffs this year while Chicago is just 3-5 on the road.
The visiting Blackhawks couldn't solve Tuukka Rask in Game 3, as Boston's goaltender stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the playoffs. Rask has turned aside 120-of-125 shots so far in this series and is sporting a 1.64 goals against average in 19 playoff games this spring.
"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."
Boston received second-period goals from Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron on Monday, then turned to its goaltender in the third period to preserve the lead. Paille scored for the second straight game, while Bergeron dominated the faceoff circle, winning 24 of his 28 draws in Game 3.
Jaromir Jagr registered an assist on Bergeron's goal, giving him 197 playoff points in his career and moving the Czech star into sole possession of fifth place on the NHL's all-time list, one ahead of Paul Coffey.
Jagr, who has no goals and eight assists in this postseason, is the only player never 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.
Chicago received a 33-save effort from Corey Crawford on Monday, but the club couldn't overcome the absence of star winger Marian Hossa, who was a late scratch for Game 3. The good news is the unspecified upper-body injury isn't expected to be serious and Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said Tuesday that Hossa "is likely to play" in Game 4.
The likely return of Hossa, who was replaced by Ben Smith in the lineup on Monday, could spark the struggling Chicago power play, which went 0-for-5 with the man advantage on Monday. The Blackhawks have failed to score on 11 power- play chances in this series and the club is just 7-for-62 on the man advantage in this postseason.
"They box you out. They got big bodies. They blocked shots," said Quenneville about Boston's success on the penalty kill. "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."
From a historical sense, Chicago needs to take Game 4 to have a realistic shot at winning this series. Although the Blackhawks came back from down 3-1 to defeat Detroit in the second round of this year's playoffs, only one team in NHL history -- the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs -- has ever come back to win a Stanley Cup Finals series after trailing three games to one. The Leafs erased a 3-0 deficit in that series to against the Red Wings.
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.
06/19 10:32:45 ET