In Monday’s critical Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, Boston took a 2-1 series with a dominating shutout of Chicago. While goalie Tuukka Rask gets the lion’s share of the credit, it was a complete team performance. If the Blackhawks are going to knot the series up at two, they’ll need a much better effort at both ends of the ice. They simply didn’t show up for Game 3 and they need to get their offense going (one goal in the last two games) or this series could be over very quickly.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Boston Bruins
Odds: Bruins -135
Rask made 28 saves for his third shutout of the postseason in a 2-0 blanking of the ‘Hawks but his teammates played extremely well in front of him. Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron scored in the second frame to give Rask all the support he needed offensively as the Bruins outshot Chicago 33-28. Meanwhile the defense (marshaled once again by Zdeno Chara) kept the Blackhawks on the outside and limited them to one chance almost every time down the ice. The Bruins bullied the Blackhawks all over the place in Game 3, and they were money in the faceoff circle, winning 40 of 56 draws, which allowed them to attack their opponents.
NHL betting know that Corey Crawford kept the Blackhawks in the game with 33 saves as his teammates couldn’t muster anything up against his counterpart, Rask, and a pregame injury to Marian Hossa definitely didn’t get things off to a good start. Hossa is listed with an upper-body injury and Chicago will have a close eye on him leading up to Game 4. Jonathan Toews has been struggling offensively with just one goal in the playoffs, but you couldn’t question his effort as he led his team with five shots on goal and he was all over the ice. Still, the ‘Hawks need their captain to get on the board and if he can, that could loosen up the rest of the Blackhawks.
Boston is favored at -135 in Game 4 on Wednesday, and they’ve been winning via their typical formula, which is to hit you every time you touch the puck, try and get a lead and then smother you. Game 1 proved that Boston can play a more open style, but a total under four goals in a game definitely favors the Bruins and the Blackhawks have to find a way to create more space, especially for guys like Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp because they’re going to have a tough time winning 1-0 and 2-1 games against Boston.
Five of Chicago’s six losses have come on the road and their power play is struggling away from the United Center. However, they’re a team full of veterans that have had their backs against the wall before, and they’re not going to panic. They got off to a great start in Game 3 and they’ll find a way to sustain that pressure throughout Game 4, although Chicago knows they’ll have to weather a few Boston storms. Chicago has won just two of their last eight in Boston, but hockey betting fans shouldn’t count them out just yet. Look for the ‘Hawks to steal one and go back home tied at two games apiece.
Pick: Blackhawks +115