The Bruins did not have a good start in Game 4. A shorthanded Chicago goal helped give the Blackhawks the early momentum they were seeking.
The Bruins went on the power play when Johnny Oduya was called for interference at 5:18 of the first. The Bruins could have grabbed a 1-0 lead.
Instead, they found themselves trailing after they allowed their first shorthanded strike of the series.
Tyler Seguin controlled the puck along the left-side wall inside the offensive zone. Brandon Saad stripped Seguin of the puck to trigger the rush. Zdeno Chara was in position to fend off Saad’s drive. But Michal Handzus got a step on Patrice Bergeron and drove to the net. Before Bergeron could retreat in time, Handzus took Saad’s cross-ice pass and beat Tuukka Rask at 6:48 of the first to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.
Seguin didn’t recover from the early error. He was on the ice for two more goals. Seguin landed only one shot in 15:18 of ice time while riding on the third line with Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly.
Better on the draw
For the Blackhawks, the Game 3 faceoff results were flat-out embarrassing. The Bruins swiped 40 of the 56 pucks that dropped. Bergeron led the pluck parade with 24 wins on 28 draws.
Because of the Bruins’ faceoff domination, the Blackhawks couldn’t dust off their trademark puck-possession game.
“They’ve got some good skill. They’ve got some good technique,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think trying to disrupt it is something we’re going to have to challenge.”
The Blackhawks made their necessary adjustments. The Bruins posted just one more faceoff win than the Blackhawks. The Bruins were 39 for 77 on the draw (51 percent). Bergeron went 19 for 34 (56 percent).
The result was that Chicago had the puck more in Game 4 than in Game 3. When the Blackhawks started shifts with the puck, they were able to generate speed in all three zones.
Through four games, the Bruins are 4 for 14 on the power play. Jaromir Jagr has been on the ice for three of those four power-play goals. Jagr has been the right-side half-wall quarterback the Bruins have missed since Marc Savard suffered his career-ending concussions.
Jagr can roll off the boards toward the top of the right circle to look for shooting or passing lanes. Or he can drift down low, protect the puck, and distribute. The latter took place in Game 3 when Jagr assisted on Bergeron’s second-period goal.
Jagr threaded a cross-ice pass through the slimmest of openings.
“He can make those passes like you saw the other night,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “At the same time, I’ve seen times where teams really try and jump him to get the puck out of his hands. They know how dangerous he can be. When they do that, sometimes they’ll pull a guy out of position, which allows another guy to get either a good shot or a scoring opportunity. He’s brought that respect to our power play as well. Another dangerous player, so that’s opened up some other options. I think he’s done a great job of that.”
Rest days ahead
The Bruins and Blackhawks will have two days off before Game 5 on Saturday at the United Center. The Bruins will most likely travel to Chicago Friday afternoon. “Even if we were playing every second night, if you need to shorten your bench, you do it,” Julien said. “If you need to play certain players, you do that. I don’t think those two days are going to change anything in our philosophy of having to win tonight. Our focus is going to be on what we need to do tonight, not on what’s going to happen in the next two days.” . . . Rich Peverley started on the fourth line for the second straight game between Kaspars Daugavins and Shawn Thornton. Peverley scored his first goal of the series. At 14:43 of the first, Peverley snapped a shot over Corey Crawford’s glove to tie the game at 1-1. Peverley played his sharpest game of the series, recording four shots in 13:38 of action. “Somebody has to take over for Gregory Campbell right now,” Julien said. “He’s a great faceoff guy, a guy that can play with energy. He can give us that. He’s a great penalty killer. You take what they bring in a positive way and you insert them in those kinds of situations.’’ . . . Matt Bartkowski, Dougie Hamilton, Wade Redden, Aaron Johnson, Jay Pandolfo, Carl Soderberg, and Jordan Caron were the healthy scratches . . . Milan Lucic led the game with eight hits . . . Jagr appeared in his 200th career playoff game. Jagr is the 19th player in NHL history to hit the 200-game mark . . . Paille entered with a two-game goal-scoring streak. He became the first player to score consecutive game-winners since Edmonton’s Fernando Pisani turned the trick against Carolina in 2006.