GOLD STAR: This just in. Patrick Kane is still pretty damn good. Kane scored the game-winner on the power play after getting set up at the top of the face-off circle and he snapped a wrist shot off the inside of the far post past Anton Khudobin. That third period PP strike with less than three minutes remaining really drove a stake into the Bruins, and ushered in the B’s loss that snapped a six-game winning streak. Kane finished with a goal and two points in 21:44 of ice time, had five shots on net and seven shot attempts and was his usual dangerous self for the Blackhawks. It was a big contrast to Saturday at TD Garden when Kane was mostly held down with the Bruins taking turns throwing big hits at the small-bodied, skilled winger. Kane won the battle on Sunday, and consequently so did the Blackhawks.
BLACK EYE: Zdeno Chara scored the only goal for the Bruins, but he was also right at the heart of the plays that lose the game for Boston at the very end. Chara took a four minute high-sticking call when he nailed John Hayden around the Boston net, and then watched as Patrick Kane scored the game-winner during the ensuing four minute power play for the Blackhawks. When Chara was finally allowed out of the box he skated to the bench with the Blackhawks enjoying full possession in the Bruins zone, and Brent Seabrook was able to score on a wide open shot right at the spot where Chara had hopped onto the bench with his back turned to the play. It was a read that Chara had to make immediately, and he made the wrong one going to the bench with the Bruins running around in their own end. That gave the Blackhawks their insurance score, and essentially sunk the Bruins in a game where they never held a lead. On the plus side, Chara only played 18:54 of ice time in an afternoon that couldn’t have been too, too taxing.
TURNING POINT: It was the third period for the Bruins where they usually come through and actually tied things up with a legit chance to get at least a point, but then the Chara high-sticking penalty in the final minutes doomed them. It was Jonathan Toews vs. Tim Schaller in the offensive zone draw for the Blackhawks on the PP, and that set them up to get exactly what they wanted with Kane at the top of the left circle ready to snap away with traffic in front of the net. Once the Bruins were in that position it was going to take a miracle for them to get out of with something positive from the game, and this time around it just didn’t happen. This was truly a case of “you can’t win them all”, however, given that they were missing Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy, David Backes and Brad Marchand (upper body injury and a final hour scratch) from the lineup.
HONORABLE MENTION: The other half of the Blackhawks’ dynamic duo also enjoyed a day with many of the big names out of the Boston lineup, and there was no doubt it had something to do with a three-point game from Jonathan Toews. He won 16-of-21 face-offs with no Patrice Bergeron opposing him on the other end of the face-off dot, and it was Toews that cleanly won the draw in the offensive zone on the PP just ahead of Patrick Kane’s game-winning goal. It was the seventh time this season that Toews has won at least 70 percent of his draws. In all Toews finished with the three assists, a shot on net, a takeaway and face-off dominance in his 21:23 of ice time, and had a nice flashback effort with Kane on Sunday afternoon.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9-2-1 – the Bruins record in the third game of stretches where they’ve played three games in four days this season, as they dropped only their third of those games in that situation in Chicago on Sunday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Playing with 11 forwards, a little challenge for the coach to keep the guys fresh… We were in it. We were in it till the end. Maybe not as many chances at either end as [on Saturday] but I thought it was a decent game.” –David Krejci, to reporters in Chicago following the 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks.