Wednesday, June 19, 2013
They may be i-Rask-ible, but they're dominating the Hawks!
Boston took control of their Best of Seven series on Monday evening with a rather dominating bit of hockey, four lines that seem particularly interchangeable for the most part, backed up by a goaltender in Tuuka Rask who no doubt has the Bruin faithful going Tim who?
Rask has been the main focus of show for the Bruins thus far, holding the Black Hawks off the scoreboard since period one of Game Two, five and a bit periods of hockey without a goal, which beyond the hits, slashes and such probably hurts the Black Hawks more than anything else.
Yet, he's but a part of the larger Boston picture, each component working to the common goal and as things look after Game Three, the goal is a whole lot closer heading into Wednesday's match up.
The Hawks who for the majority of the regular season were a scoring and hitting machine, have seemingly hit a wall against the Bruins. Boston looms larger, hits harder and for the moment score more often, a trifecta that would seem to have the Stanley Cup edging closer to another Duck boat parade with each passing period.
Chicago's troubles continued on Monday with the departure of Marion Hossa from the Hawks line up, a last minute scratch following the warm up.
A team that was already lacking in scoring punch, clearly missed his ability to create space and take pressure off his team mates, as Game three moved on no one it seemed was going to be able to pick up the scoring slack in his absence.
Particularly of concern to head coach Joel Quenneville must be the horrid nature of the Hawks power play, a situation that surely has the coach thinking of ways to decline the man advantage, such is the woeful stats from it thus far.
With the Hawks unable to make the Bruins pay for their less than civil play, the Bruins will continue to show no fear of taking a penalty from their play. In effect, the Hawks by their inability to score on the power play are making the Bruins physical play even more prominent as each game goes by.
They can only rely on their goaltender for so long to remain in contention, Corey Crawford has provided as much support as would seem reasonable in a playoff match up, without him, the Hawks would be looking at much larger deficits and even less hope of a comeback, in fact, without Crawford's work, the Hawks could very well have been facing a sweep as Game Four arrives.
Boston so far hasn't proved to be generous hosts, with one home win under their belt and the opportunity to take a firm grip on the Final with a victory on Wednesday.
For the Hawks home ice may yet provide one more opportunity to make some noise, though whether it proves to be a do or die moment will depend on how they come out of Boston in Game 4.
So far, if Monday was any indication, while you hate to look ahead to Game 5, the current theme of the series would suggest that the return to the Windy City may be more of a last stand for the Hawks than they might prefer.
Boston Herald-- Blood, sweat and bears
Boston Globe-- Cup hungry Bruins become boys of summer
NESN-- Blackhawks starting to sound like Penguins after frustrating Game Three loss to Bruins
Chicago Sun Times-- Plenty of blame to go around for Blackhawks' recent play
Chicago Tribune-- Hawks in state of denial
USA Today-- Hawks must attack Rask for reward
National Post-- The way Bruins play is what makes Tuuka Rask look great
Globe and mail-- Bruins bottle up Blackhawks' attack
Toronto Star-- Blackhawks plagued by more than bad ice
Toronto Sun-- Blackhawks' problems start in the faceoff circle