Crawford had 33 stops when the series shifted to Boston for Game 3, but Chicago was unable to get anything going against Rask. And then came more of the glove-side problems on Wednesday night that the Bruins have exploited all series long.
“A couple tough breaks last night, especially when we had the lead at 3-1 or 4-2, Boston is going to open up a little bit,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said Thursday. “I think for us that we can play better defensively, maybe get in some shooting lanes and block some of those shots.”
Chicago held leads of 1-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4, but Boston rallied each time. The glove-side issue is a tricky little one for coach Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawks, who know that’s where the Bruins are trying to go, but don’t want Crawford to focus so much on that area that it gets into his head.
“We’re very comfortable with Corey,” Quenneville said, dismissing the idea of inserting backup Ray Emery. “Corey has been rock solid all year for us, and when he’s got the ball, he’s been outstanding, and he’s the biggest reason why we’re here today.”
Rask was working on a shutout streak of 129 minutes, 14 seconds when Michal Handzus had a beautiful sliding score in the first period Wednesday night off a nice pass from Brandon Saad on a fast break.
It was a sign of things to come for the Bruins.
Marcus Kruger completed a 2-on-1 break in the second period with his third goal of the playoffs. Kruger and Michael Frolik got down the ice so quickly that there was time for Kruger to poke home his own rebound after Rask stopped his first attempt.
“I thought we gave them a lot of space,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “It doesn’t mean they don’t have a pace to their game, but it means we gave them too many options. And the neutral zone for me, not just on the forecheck but even our neutral zone on the counter wasn’t very good.”