Final, Blackhawks 3-1: This one is over. The Blackhawks can win the Stanley Cup in Boston on Monday night.
Third period, 19:46, Blackhawks 3-1: That’ll do it. Dave Bolland’s empty-net goal seals the win for Chicago.
Third period, 19:29, Blackhawks 2-1: The Blackhawks haven’t given the Bruins anything here late in the third period. In fact, Tuukka Rask had to make a huge save to keep it a one-goal game.
Rask was just pulled for the extra skater.
Third period, 14:24, Blackhawks 2-1: The Bruins are running out of time, which means we can expect a big rush from them here in the final minutes of regulation.
They need more out of their top-six forwards, though. David Krejci is getting worked in the faceoff circle, while Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr are nowhere to be found. Some of that has to do with Patrice Bergeron’s absence, but someone needs to step up at some point. Now would be that time.
Third period, 11:50, Blackhawks 2-1: The Bruins just had a good shift from their first line, but this game might have been over by now if it weren’t for Tuukka Rask.
The Boston goalie was simply sensational for about a minute of time just a few moments ago. First, he stopped Michael Frolik on a play in the slot, as the goalie got his stick down to deny a chance toward the five-hole. Just a few seconds later, Rask gloved a shot from Patrick Kane, as the Chicago forward curled in the right faceoff dot before unleashing a wrister. Not long after, Kane came down the left wing and blasted a slap shot from the wing that Rask gloved as well.
Still no sign of Jonathan Toews, by the way, as he remains on the bench.
Third period, 10:00, Blackhawks 2-1: Patrice Bergeron has left the arena, and he is headed to the hospital. That’s really bad news for the Bruins.
Third period, 6:30, Blackhawks 2-1: The Bruins certainly have some jump in their step right about now, as they have dominated play in the early minutes here in the third period.
The Bruins have also tinkered with their defensive pairings. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg have been split up after some ugly play through the first two periods.
We’ve also yet to see Jonathan Toews here in the third period. He took a massive hit from Johnny Boychuk in the second period, which may have taken its toll on the Chicago captain.
Third period, 3:45, Blackhawks 2-1: It’s a game now.
Zdeno Chara just blasted a big slap shot by Corey Crawford. Once again, it’s glove side. Like Johnny Boychuk’s goal in Game 4, though, there’s not much he could have done with that one. Just a missile.
We’ve yet to see Jonathan Toews hit the ice here in the third period for Chicago.
Third period, 0:10, Blackhakws 2-0: The third period is underway, and Patrice Bergeron is nowhere to be seen.
Second period reaction: Well, that didn’t go as planned for the Bruins.
The B’s had arguably their most frustrating period of the season right there, and now they have their work cut out for them. Boston was only outscored 1-0 in the second period, but everything seems to be going against it right now. Patrick Kane has awoken, and he’s got two goals so far and has been the best player on the ice.
But the Bruins’ frustrations are all over the ice. They aren’t getting any real impressive scoring chances, and they aren’t doing a good job of generating offense. They’ve become a little too unselfish and a little too cute, which is exactly the opposite of what you want to do against a supposedly shaky goalie in Corey Crawford. Perhaps the best example of that came in the final seconds of the period when David Krejci literally passed up a shot attempt to try and force the puck to Zdeno Chara, which resulted in a turnover.
The frustration also extends to some bad luck. Patrice Bergeron is clearly hurt, and that’s a huge issue for the Bruins. He’s their best forward, and when you take him out of the picture, the Bruins become worse in all three zones of the ice and on offense, defense and special teams. He played only 49 seconds in the period after suffering an apparent injury during a 4-on-4 situation early in the period. The bounces aren’t going Boston’s way, either. Both goals came from some bad luck and both came via Dennis Seidenberg. Kane’s first goal came after Seidenberg’s stick broke and the puck went right to Kane, while the second came after Seidenberg got tied up with Tuukka Rask.
All that being said, though, the Hawks have been the better team. They’re winning the puck battles, and that’s allowing them to play faster than the Bruins would like to play. The B’s need to do something to slow the play, and they need to start generating something on offense.
End second period, Blackhawks 2-0: Frustration is going to start setting in for the Bruins real soon, if it hasn’t already.
The Blackhawks take the 2-0 lead to the dressing room.
Second period, 17:43, Blackhawks 2-0: The Bruins just killed off Adam McQuaid’s penalty with no real quality chances for Chicago.
Second period, 15:20, Blackhawks 2-0: This is what Claude Julien said about Patrice Bergeron during an in-game interview with NBC.
“Uh…let’s just say right now we’re going to give him a little bit of time.”
That doesn’t sound good at all.
In other bad news for the Bruins, Adam McQuaid is going to the penalty box for roughing after catching Andrew Shaw with a cross-check up around the face.
Second period, 12:34, Blackhawks 2-0: The Blackhawks are feeling the momentum, and they are bringing it. The pace of this game has been kicked up a couple of notches, and that is bad news for the Bruins.
So, too, is the fact that Patrice Bergeron is clearly dealing with some sort of injury. The Boston center hopped on the ice for his first shift in about eight or nine minutes, and that shift lasted just 16 seconds. That’s a huge blow if he’s not able to return, which probably goes without saying around these parts.
Carl Soderberg is currently centering Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr in Bergeron’s place.
Second period, 8:00, Blackhawks 2-0: The Bruins killed off the penalty.
Patrice Bergeron is dealing with something. He didn’t see any ice time on that penalty kill, and he hasn’t hit the ice in the last 1:22 into the second period.
Second period, 5:59, Blackhawks 2-0: The issues for the Bruins’ top defense pairing continue.
This time, it’s Dennis Seidenberg taking a penalty for boarding. The Chicago power play is about to go back to work.
Second period, 5:13, Blackhawks 2-0: The Blackhawks have done something in the last two games that very few teams have been able to do in the last few years — they’ve made Zdeno Chara look average.
Chara wasn’t able to clean up a rebound in front, and Patrick Kane was there to take full advantage. He flipped a backhander up over Tuukka Rask and under the crossbar to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Second period, 0:01, Blackhawks 1-0: The second period is underway.
First period reaction: The first period was short on scoring, but it was big on excitement, as these two teams continue to play some very good hockey.
The Blackhawks have the lead, but it’s thanks in part to some luck. Johnny Oduya’s slap shot from the left point was slowed down by Dennis Seidenberg’s stick, but that ended up helping Chicago. The puck changed directions, which threw off Tuukka Rask, and the bounce ended up being a fortunate one for the Hawks. It went right to Patrick Kane who was able to shove home the puck to Rask’s right.
The Bruins were able to put 11 shots on goal in the first period, but to Corey Crawford’s credit, he was able to turn away any chances for Boston. He made a couple of big saves on both Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara, with the latter leading to the Blackhawks’ goal at the other end. Still, the Bruins need to do a better job of generating chances. If they’re looking to target Crawford’s glove side, they’re not doing a very good job of executing that plan. He hasn’t really been challenged there, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that.
Much was made about Chicago’s comments about Chara, and the Hawks aren’t shying away from him. They went right after him, and the Boston captain was on the ice for the lone Blackhawks goal. Granted it was by happenstance that he was on the ice as Seidenberg’s stick broke, but Chara has been on the ice for six of the last seven Chicago goals.
End first period, Blackhawks 1-0: The first period has come to an end, and the Blackhawks take the 1-0 lead to recess.
Things started getting a little testy late in the first period. Johnny Boychuk and Patrick Sharp received matching roughing minors after getting into it following a whistle. Shortly thereafter, Tyler Seguin of all people got in the middle of a scrum and came away with a bloody nose for his efforts.
First period, 17:27, Blackhawks 1-0: Sometimes, luck is just as important as skill.
Chicago just got some luck, and it took full advantage. A shot from the point broke Dennis Seidenberg’s stick, and that made for a weird deflection. The deflection went right to Patrick Kane who knew what to do with it.
Kane jammed the game’s first goal by Tuukka Rask for the early lead.
First period, 15:13, 0-0: Patrick Sharp, meet Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins goalie just made arguably his biggest save of the playoffs on the Blackhawks winger. Sharp had Rask going side-to-side on an eventual one-timer, but Rask got over just quick enough to stop the shot with his right shoulder.
First period, 11:15, 0-0: The Carl Soderberg watch is on, and so far, he’s been fine.
The big Swede has already seen 2:26 of ice time, he’s put two shots on goal and most importantly, he hasn’t screwed anything up.
The Bruins’ second line is starting to get its chances. Jaromir Jagr got a good scoring chance, but he was denied by Corey Crawford, and Brad Marchand is starting to fly around.
Boston is starting to slow the pace some after a quick start from Chicago, and things have kind of evened out.
First period, 6:19, 0-0: It’s been an uneven start for the Bruins, with some good things and some bad things to choose from.
The good has been that the bottom six have been pretty effective. The new third line has been strong once again, and they created an early scoring chance with Daniel Paille in front. The fourth line also came up with a good chance as Torey Krug put one on net that Corey Crawford kicked away with his left pad.
However, the Bruins haven’t gotten a ton out of the first two lines, and the Blackhawks have come close to scoring with Boston’s top six on the ice. That was especially true when Jonathan Toews almost netted the game’s first goal against the Patrice Bergeron line, but Toews hit the post.
First period, 0:01, 0-0: Game 5 is underway. Let’s go.
8:10 p.m.: Here are what the Bruins’ lines will look like with Carl Soderberg in there.
Milan Lucic — David Krejci — Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille — Chris Kelly — Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg — Rich Peverley — Shawn Thornton
7:59 p.m.: It appears to be official. The NHL roster report already has Carl Soderberg in the lineup and Kaspars Daugavins as a scratch.
7:58 p.m.: Carl Soderberg took all the rushes with the fourth line, which would seem to indicate that he will indeed be in the lineup for Game 5. It would be his first appearance since April 28 and just his seventh NHL game.
7:52 p.m.: Carl Soderberg took the first line rush with the fourth line, so that would seem to indicate he’d be in the lineup. But we’ll see.
7:45 p.m.: The Bruins and Blackhawks just took the ice for pregame warmups in Chicago. For the Hawks, Marian Hossa was on the ice, so Joel Quenneville is not a liar.
7:30 p.m.: It probably goes without saying that this is a huge game for both teams. The series is tied 2-2, and the winner would have two chances to win the Cup, while the loser would have to win out (including once on the road).
This is the 22nd time the Stanley Cup Final has been tied 2-2 after four games. The winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the Cup in 15 of those series. However, the last four of six times we’ve seen this situation, the losing team of Game 5 has come back to win the series. That, of course, includes the 2011 Cup when the Bruins came back to win after losing Game 5 in Vancouver.
6:40 p.m.: If you’re a Bruins fan, I think you should feel good about Game 5, even if the Blackhawks may have some momentum and are playing in front of their home fans.
The reason for that optimism? Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins goalie has been fantastic all postseason, and that’s been marked by his ability to bounce back from subpar games. While Game 4 wasn’t totally his fault, he could have been better. I think you can expect him to be better in Game 5 — he certainly has the track record to back it up. Rask has now given up four or more goals in four games this postseason. In the four games following those games, he’s gone 4-0 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .959 save percentage. That’s really good.
6:35 p.m.: If you’re into brilliant hockey analysis, Andy Brickley is doing work on NESN pregame coverage right now.
5:53 p.m.: Like before Game 4, Marian Hossa did not participate in morning skate Saturday morning. Like Game 4 as well, he’s expected to play in Game 5.
This was almost certainly a chance to give him more rest after he missed Game 3 with an upper-body injury, and Chicago head coach Joel Qunneville expects the forward to be fine.
“He’s fine,” Qunneville said. “He’s going to play, and we’ll say he should be better.”
5:30 p.m.: Good afternoon. We’re about three hours from puck drop, and there are some things to sort through moving into Game 5.
We spoke earlier about the potential of adding Carl Soderberg to the mix, and Claude Julien wouldn’t say for sure what he would do in that regard.
“Why [change the lines on Friday]? Because I can,” he said following morning skate Saturday. “You guys ask me why I make those changes. I didn’t spend three days thinking about that. It’s a situation that I can do. If I do that tonight, we’ll see where it goes. I may just go back to [Kaspars Daugavins], because again I’m tinkering between those two like I have from the beginning of the series.”
Of course, Julien hasn’t played anyone but Daugavins as the fourth-line left winger until this point. On Friday, though, Julien had Soderberg on the fourth line during practice, while Daugavins was with the healthy scratches. Soderberg and Daugavins alternated at morning skate on Saturday.
11 a.m. ET: Four games have been played in the Stanley Cup Final, and we don’t know much of anything, other than these two teams are very good and they’re evenly matched.
The Bruins and Blackhawks have played four games so far, and each team has two wins. Each team has one a game at home and a game on the road. Each team is just two wins away from the Cup, as Saturday night marks the beginning of a best-of-three for the Cup.
The series shifts back to Chicago for Game 5 where the Hawks won Game 1 in triple-overtime before the B’s bounced back to take Game 2 in overtime. Game 5 is obviously huge, especially for the Bruins. They would seem to be up against it with the series now being a two out of three affair with two games in Chicago.
If the Bruins are going to head back to Boston with a chance to win the Cup in Game 6, they will have to be much better than they were in Game 4. Boston was uncharacteristically loose defensively, an effort and showing that head coach Claude Julien labeled as “average.”
It may lead Julien to make a change in his lineup. Carl Soderberg, who has just six NHL games to his name, was skating on the fourth line at practice Friday. He could end up being inserted into the lineup in place of Kaspars Daugavins. It would be a risky move given Soderberg’s inexperience, but Daugavins has really struggled as of late, so it might be time for a change.
Puck drop from Chicago is set for just after 8 p.m.