GOLD STAR: Jake DeBrusk was a man on a mission with the Bruins second line all afternoon, and helped facilitate a big day for the second line and for the second power play unit. DeBrusk assisted on three of Boston’s seven goals, made a couple of slick, slick passes to David Krejci for goals on the second power play unit and ended up totaling a team-high six shots on net and 11 shot attempts in is full 15:20 of ice time. DeBrusk was extremely active in all three zones and got better as the game went along, and finished with four takeaways while winning battles on the regular against the Blackhawks. DeBrusk had been a little quiet lately, so it was good to see an offensive explosion out of him as so many things went right for the B’s offensively on Saturday afternoon.

BLACK EYE: Duncan Keith was an absolute ghost for the Blackhawks. It’s shocking and stunning to say that, but it was absolutely true against the Bruins. Keith finished with one shot on net, zero hits and a single blocked shot along with a minus-2 rating in just 18:39 of ice time. It’s hard to believe this was the same guy that was playing 30 minutes a night while nailing down a Conn Smythe Trophy for the Blackhawks during their dynastic years, but perhaps the price he’s paying now is as a result of all that good stuff he did for Chicago during their elite years. It’s just stunning to see how guys like Keith have become non-factors late in a season where the Blackhawks are going nowhere fast. It was another one of those forgettable games for Keith.


TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was once again the third period where the Bruins reeled off four unanswered goals and once again dominated another team on the scoreboard while cruising to the win. Bruce Cassidy called it the “will to win” after the game, and it’s something that’s showed up all season for the Bruins in the final 20 minutes of so many of their games. They outshot the Blackhawks by a 15-8 margin and basically ran Chicago out of the building while turning on the jets in the third period, and left no doubt once they wanted to pull away from a team getting ready to golf this spring. It really is ridiculous as the Bruins are outscoring opponents 75-43 in the third period over the course of the year, and outscoring them at an almost 2-to-1 rate in that final 20 minutes.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Krejci finished with a pair of power play goals while finishing off great passes from Jake DeBrusk, and was Boston’s frontline center for the entire game while playing strong hockey with DeBrusk and Rick Nash. Krejci finished with four shots on net and won 10-of-16 face-offs while registering as Boston’s most effective center with Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup. The entire second Bruins power play unit was operating with jump, confidence and electricity throughout the game, and no more so than Krejci, who now sits just four goals away from another 20-goal season after matching his career-high with 23 goals last season. The Bruins need quality stuff out of Krejci while Bergeron and David Backes are out, and that’s what they got on Saturday.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 – the first career Gordie Howe hat trick for rookie Sean Kuraly, who fought John Hayden in the first period, assisted on Noel Acciari’s shorthanded goal in the first as well and then scored on a last minute empty netter to get the rare NHL honor.

QUOTE TO NOTE:  “We talked about our will to win, how it’s been there this week and this home stand or, sorry, the two weeks and all year. I thought we had it in pockets, but theirs was greater than ours, I thought, through two periods. We were okay, and that’s what the result was looking like: we’d just be okay. So, it was kind of like ‘the ball is in our court if we want to push [it]’ and we did.” –Bruce Cassidy on what he said to the Bruins between the second and third periods ahead of the four-goal outburst in the third.