BOSTON—The Boston Bruins weren’t content with a one-goal lead, not against the team that erased that same deficit to win the Stanley Cup in their building.So they scored two goals in a 13-second span early in the third period and beat the Blackhawks 3-0 on Thursday night, nine months after their late collapse in Game 6 of the 2013 Final.
“Chicago’s an easy team to get up for, especially with what happened last year,” Boston forward Chris Kelly said.
The Blackhawks clinched their second title in four years with a 3-2 victory when Brian Bickell tied it with 1:16 to play and Dave Bolland scored the winner with 59 seconds left last June 24.
“Coming back brought some memories,” Patrick Sharp said after his first game at TD Garden since he and his teammates skated there with the Stanley Cup. “We’re happy with what we accomplished, but that’s in the past and we’re ready to try and do it again.”
But the NHL’s highest-scoring team couldn’t do much against the hottest, stingiest club in the league as Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots in posting his NHL-leading seventh shutout.
“You always feel better about yourself when you play good against good teams like that,” he said. “I don’t think they got too many chances.”
So the Blackhawks, in fourth place in the Western Conference, must wait to pick up the one point they need to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth consecutive season.
“We’re not looking too far ahead,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’re looking to get one more win … and go from there.”
Patrice Bergeron scored two goals and Carl Soderberg had one as the Bruins rebounded from a shootout loss to Montreal on Monday that ended their 12-game winning streak.In their past 14 games, the Bruins have outscored opponents 51-19. They lead second-place Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference by nine points with nine games to play for each.
“You never want to play on your heels,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “When you’ve got a one-goal lead, you want to extend it before you even think of protecting the lead.”
They couldn’t do that the last time they played the Hawks in Boston. But these Bruins have allowed the fewest goals in the NHL and won their 50th game for only the third time in 31 seasons.And Bergeron is having one of his best. Known as one of the NHL’s best defensive forwards, he has 25 goals, second most in his 10-season career.
“It’s great any time I can chip in offensively and keep my two-way game,” he said.
Bergeron began the scoring when he tipped in Matt Bartkowski’s shot from the left point as the puck eluded goalie Corey Crawford.Soderberg made it 2-0 with his 14th of the season at 5:28 of the third period. Johnny Boychuk’s shot was stopped by Kelly in front, and it went to Soderberg, who shot quickly from 15 feet.Just 13 seconds later, Bergeron was credited with the goal after a video review. Crawford had gone behind his net, and when he tried to get back in front, he knocked the net out of position as the puck was heading toward it.Officials ruled that the puck would have gone into the net had it been in place.The Blackhawks played without Patrick Kane, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner last season as the postseason MVP. The Hawks second leading scorer is expected to miss the rest of the regular season because of a knee injury.The Blackhawks had few good scoring opportunities. Their last solid bid came when Jeremy Morin unleashed a hard, 30-foot shot from the left side that a sprawling Rask plucked with his glove.The Hawks controlled the puck in the first 10 minutes.
“It was a perfect start. Then it slowed down to a crawl,” Quenneville said. “We were not very good.”
NOTES—A moment of silence was held before the game for firefighters, Lt. Edward J. Walsh and Michael R. Kennedy, who died Wednesday in a fire in the Back Bay section of Boston — not far from TD Garden. “It’s a sad, sad day when two brave men lose their lives,” Kelly said. “If we can do a little thing to honor them, we’re more than happy to do that.” The Bruins wore Boston Fire Department caps during warmups. … Bergeron has a career-best, five-game goal streak. … The Bruins are 6-0 when they take a 1-0 lead into the third period.