The Boston Bruins will enter the final week of the NHL regular season outside of the Stanley Cup playoff picture after coming up short Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
The Blackhawks scored the game’s first six goals and withstood a furious Bruins rally to hand the B’s a 6-4 loss at the United Center in Boston’s final road game of the season.
Chicago winger Patrick Kane recorded a hat trick and added an assist to reach the 100-point plateau, and the line of Kane, left wing Artemi Panarin and center Artem Anisimov combined to tally 11 points in the game.
IT WAS OVER WHEN …
The Bruins’ valiant comeback bid ran out of gas.
All appeared lost for Boston when Kane’s third goal of the afternoon put Chicago ahead 6-0 with just under six minutes remaining in the second period. But the Bruins rallied, outshooting the Blackhawks 21-12 in the second and 17-3 in the third.
David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron both scored goals in the final 16 seconds of the middle frame, and Bergeron added another 2:39 into the third to cut the deficit to 6-3. Those goals gave Bergeron 32 on the season, surpassing his previous career high of 31.
Brad Marchand then potted his team-leading 36th of the season to trim Chicago’s lead to two with 10:09 to play, but that was all the offense Boston was able to muster.
Bergeron paced the Bruins with two goals, an assist and seven shots on goal, and defenseman Torey Krug chipped with two helpers and a game-high 10 shots on net.
ALL HAWKS EARLY
The Blackhawks potted a power-play goal and another during a 4-on-4 to take a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Anisimov scored the first off an assist from Panarin, who whiffed on a shot from the left circle but was fortunate to have the puck slide directly to his linemate in front of the Boston net.
Chicago’s second tally came courtesy of the NHL’s leading scorer, as Kane picked off a Joe Morrow pass at his own blue line and beat Rask on the ensuing breakaway.
The Blackhawks racked up 19 shots on goal in the opening frame to the Bruins’ eight.
Kane and Jonathan Toews then potted goals 66 seconds apart in the opening minutes of the second period to give the Blackhawks a commanding 4-0 lead.
Toews’ tally prompted Bruins coach Claude Julien to pull starting goalie Tuukka Rask, who stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced. Jonas Gustavsson took over and allowed Chicago’s final two goals: one by Panarin and another by Kane.
The Bruins were forced to play without two of their core defensemen, as Dennis Seidenberg and Kevan Miller both missed the game with lower body injuries. That diminished blue line depth resulted in a rare appearance in the lineup for defenseman Zach Trotman, who had seen action in only one of the Bruins’ previous 20 games.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara got into it with Blackhawks counterpart Toews on two separate occasions in the first period. Their second skirmish resulted in matching unsportsmanlike conduct minors.
The Bruins close out their regular-season schedule with three games at TD Garden, the first of which will be Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Thumbnail photo via David Banks/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane