Tuukka Rask recorded his third career postseason shutout in Monday night’s Game 3. Rask stopped all 28 shots that Chicago sent his way.
The Blackhawks never made Rask work for his blanking. The Bruins prevented the Blackhawks from generating any kind of offensive rhythm. When the night was over, Rask had a virtually dry uniform to accompany his shutout.
“Tonight was great,” Rask said. “If you take the first period out of the last game, I thought the last two periods in that game were really good. Today we continued to do that. They had shots. But most of them came from the outside. We eliminated a lot of those rebound opportunities. I think that’s something that every team likes to do. We succeeded today.”
The only heat that Rask saw was in the game’s final minute. The Bruins were protecting a 2-0 lead. Corey Crawford was pulled for an extra skater. With 45 seconds remaining in regulation, Bryan Bickell snapped a puck off the right post.
Luck seems to find good goalies.
Rask wasn’t as busy as he was in Games 1 and 2. But he was efficient when the puck came his way. Rask was square to Chicago’s shooters and controlled his rebounds well. There were moments in the first two games at the United Center where Rask didn’t steer pucks out of danger. In Game 3, he rarely deposited rebounds into harm’s way.
“They shot high shots from off the wing, and I was able to just catch a lot of them with my glove,” Rask said. “Then a few loose pucks were laying around there. Our D or forwards took care of that. It helps when we get the puck quick and just move it forward. It helps our breakouts a lot.”
At the end of warm-ups, Zdeno Chara is usually one of the first players off the ice. Chara completes his session with several full-speed whirls through the neutral zone.
Chara’s warm-ups nearly ended in disaster. Chara collided with Milan Lucic, who had his back turned. Both players hit the deck. Both of their helmets popped off. Chara got the worst of the collision. The captain required pregame work to close a cut on his head.
Chara didn’t miss any time because of the injury, leading the Bruins with 25:47 of ice time. Chara had one shot and three hits. Chara and Dennis Seidenberg played most of their shifts against Jonathan Toews, who centered Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik.
Thornton stays ready
Shawn Thornton considers himself a slump buster. But not in the right way. When Thornton’s former linemates leave him behind, their scoring touch returns.
That’s what happened in Game 2’s 2-1 overtime win in Chicago. Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly started the game on the fourth line, with Thornton as their right wing. But when Paille and Kelly moved up to the third line with Tyler Seguin in the second period, the Bruins’ offense returned.
Kelly scored the tying goal in the second period. Paille netted the overtime winner. Thornton, meanwhile, was parked on the bench. Thornton played only 4:56.
“I don’t care,” Thornton said with a smile before playing 6:27 and being penalized for roughing in Game 3. “We’re winning games. That’s all that matters.
“Whoever we play with and however many minutes we get, we try and contribute while we’re out there. That other stuff’s out of our control other than the effort we put in. If we put in enough effort to have success, maybe we’ll get out there a few more times.
“Segs, Kells, and Piesey were pretty good last game.”
In the triple-overtime 4-3 loss in Game 1, David Krejci played 38:41 to lead all Bruins forwards. Thornton logged only 9:55 of ice time.
A reduced postseason role is not new for Thornton. The right wing was a healthy scratch for parts of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and Eastern Conference Final.
But Thornton’s in a different situation now. Gregory Campbell, his usual center, is out for the playoffs because of his broken right leg. The fourth line of Paille, Campbell, and Thornton, which played with its sharpest pace against the Rangers in the second round, is no longer. The new fourth line of Thornton alongside Kaspars Daugavins and Rich Peverley has yet to find its identity.
It was especially difficult for the Bruins to roll out Thornton in the multi-overtime games. Julien had to shorten his bench in regulation. In overtime, Thornton had gone double-digit minutes between shifts. The Bruins could have used Thornton to spell his teammates. But Julien is wary about sending out players when they’ve been sitting for too long.
“There’s definitely been some times where you’re sitting on the bench for 10 minutes. Fortunately for me, I’ve been doing that for 16 years,” Thornton cracked. “I’m used to it. You try to keep yourself ready whatever way you can, whether it’s riding the bike between periods or seeing me hop up and down on the bench like an idiot. Whatever it takes to stay ready for when you’re out there, because you want to be effective when you’re out there.”
Campbell joins team
Campbell was unable to travel to Chicago with the team for Games 1 and 2. He underwent surgery on his broken right leg last Monday, the day before the Bruins traveled to Chicago. Team doctors did not want Campbell traveling so soon following surgery.
But Campbell was at TD Garden for Game 3. Campbell is scheduled to make his first public comments on Tuesday since suffering the injury on June 5.
“Every time that someone goes down, you always want to play for that player, and right now it’s Soupy,” Paille said. “We know he’s done everything he could to help us get to where we’re at. We always want to make sure that it wasn’t for nothing.”
No lineup changes
The Bruins didn’t make any changes from their Game 2 lineup. Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson, Carl Soderberg, Jay Pandolfo, and Jordan Caron were the healthy scratches . . . Daugavins played only 6:30. He was called for roughing in the first period when he threw a forearm at Andrew Shaw’s head . . . Shaw and Brad Marchand went off for fighting late in regulation. Few punches landed . . . Seidenberg led all players with six blocked shots.