The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 on Saturday evening to take a 3-2 lead. The series heads back to Boston for Game 6 where the Blackhawks will have an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.
Both teams came out of the gate ready to play. It was a very even first period with a few quality scoring chances for each team. But the only goal of the period would come late. Johnny Oduya launched a shot from the point and Tuukka Rask gave up a rebound behind himself. Patrick Kane put the puck onto his backhand and slipped the puck into the net at 17:27. The Bruins had an 11-8 edge in shots after the period.
The second period would have the Blackhawks control the pace of play. There were several close scoring chances but both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp hit the post. However, the Blackhawks would lengthen the lead as Toews sprung Bryan Bickell. After his first shot was stopped, Bickell skated behind the net and found Kane in front of the net and put a backhand top shelf past Rask for his second goal of the evening at 5:13. The Blackhawks would be unable to extend the lead further as they failed on two power plays later in the period. The Bruins would suffer a big injury when Patrice Bergeron left after playing 49 seconds in the second period as he suffered a non contact injury.
Starting the third period, it would be the Blackhawks who were missing a key player. Toews did not play at all in the third period and sat on the bench with an upper body injury. Without their captain, the Blackhawks were under siege in their own zone. The Bruins kept coming in waves and got a goal as David Krejci was behind the net and found Zdeno Chara who blasted a slap shot past the glove of Corey Crawford at 3:40. Crawford was stellar in the next five minutes as he kept the Blackhawks in the lead. From there the period evened out and the Blackhawks were able to adjust without their captain. The Blackhawks would put the game away as Dave Bolland put in an empty netter from center ice at 19:46.
What it means
The Blackhawks have now responded to the Bruins two game winning streak with a two game winning streak of their own. The Blackhawks can clinch the cup in Game 6 like they did in 2010 on the road on Monday. Meanwhile the Bruins are in a familiar position as well as they were down 3-2 in 2011 before winning Game 6 at home and Game 7 in Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup.
3 stars of the game
3. Jonathan Toews- Before leaving with an unspecified injury, Toews was one of the best Blackhawks on the ice. He started the play on both goals. Toews had 2 assists and was a plus 2 in 12:56. It was a good night in the faceoff circle as well as Toews won 9 of 12 faceoffs.
2. Corey Crawford- It was a good bounce back performance for Crawford. He heard that his glove was weak and did allow one goal past the glove side. But Crawford was very good and made 24 saves on 25 shots.
1. Patrick Kane- Is there anybody better at turning it on during the clutch than Kane? He scored two goals tonight and was a plus one with six shots on goal. Kane now has 9 goals in the playoffs and has scored 3 goals in the past two games.