The Boston Bruins took a 2-1 lead in the 7 game series after shutting out the NHL’s second best offense 2-0. In fact the Bruins have shut out the ‘hawks for 6 consecutive periods of hockey.
We’ve seen this movie before. The Bruins squeezed the life out of NHL’s best offense, holding Pittsburgh to just two goals in four games.
“We always talk about getting to the inside a little bit more, getting two guys screening him (Rask) and guys going to the net,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who has just one goal in the postseason and has yet to register a point in this series. “We just didn’t find those loose pucks. We’ve got to find a way to do it.”
Chicago needs to win ugly now. As Coach Quenneville described it, “It’s hard to get A-plus chances. You’ve got to manufacture the ugly kind of goals; tips, screens, deflections and the second chances.” Last night they didn’t get close enough to Rask to get anything in the way of ugly goals.
Marian Hossa was a game time scratch due to an upper body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.
The momentum has clearly swung Boston’s way. As I shared with Coach Nye on his site today, there is no better team than Boston at knocking the opposition off their game plan. What I don’t quite get is how the Bruins are doing it.
Like you, I witnessed it. Tonight the Bruins looked like they were the aggressor taking it to Chicago with their forecheck. Snuffing out the feared Chicago transition game before the D could make that first pass. When the Blackhawks did get it moving up ice, the Bruins pushed them outside to the wall.
Over Boston’s six consecutive winning periods Chicago has been outscored 4-0. Coach Julien hasn’t changed a thing since putting the third line of Tyler Seguin, Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly together to start the second period of game 2. The Bruins are back to rolling out their lines and controlling the game on the ice.
Bruins of course don’t need to change a thing. It’s now Chicago that must adapt. Some ways Chic ago might get the momentum back are:
1. Get more guys to the puck. Make short first passes before spreading the Bruins defensive scheme.
2. Skate away from the Bruins instead of into them. The ‘hawks aren’t going through these Bruins. You have to attack by going around them.
3. Play a constant wheel. Keep all five guys in motion. Attack the puck and the net from the short or nearest side. As this happens, rotate up and cover from the back side. It’s actually how Boston is creating its layered defense. It’s nothing new though.
Jonathon Toews statement of needing to score on second chances is the perfect metaphor for where the ‘hawks are right now. Game 4 on Wednesday is Chicago’s second to last chance in this series.