It is troubling for Bruins fans that Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were a minus-2 in their 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night in Game 5. But the trio of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell were too much for the Black and Gold’s top pairing.
Kane scored two goals, but it was not with his speed in the open ice. The former top overall pick scored his eighth and ninth goals of the postseason in the dirty area.
“This is what you work for, this opportunity,” said Kane. “You got to seize the moment and take care of it.”
Kane has three goals in his last two games against the Bruins, and has lit the lamp seven times in his last seven postseason contests.
Although Jonathan Toews missed the entire third period, he had two assists and did not back down from Chara.
“We had an idea after the second period, but to see him out there on the bench supporting the team and doing whatever he can-even though he wasn’t going to get a shift-gave us a little boost,” teammate Patrick Sharp said of Toews. “We didn’t have our best third period, but we have a deep team, we used everybody to protect the lead.”
Bickell brought the same attitude as Toews. He didn’t allow either Chara or Seidenberg to intimidate him or his team at any point in Game 5. He tallied three shots in 17:05 of ice time, and along with Toews and Kane, gave the Bruins’ top pairing fits throughout the contest.
Not only did the Blackhawks top line combine for two goals and three assists, but their speed, physicality and most importantly their net-front presence gave headaches to the Bruins’ defense all night long.
The key to the Bruins’ success all season long has been their net-front presence in the offensive zone and the Blackhawks are returning the favor. The Hawks may have created the recipe for success against Chara and Seidenberg – load a line with three very skilled players and don’t back down.
The story of the night could have been the loss of Toews and Patrice Bergeron, two Selke Trophy winning centers. But one cannot overlook the play of the Blackhawks top line against the Bruins’ top defensive pairing.
If the Bruins want to force a Game 7 in Chicago on Wednesday night, they must take care of business in Boston on Monday. That includes keeping Kane, Toews and Bickell in check as they did in Game 3.
“We just maybe have to have a little bit more awareness around our net because both goals were scored the same way,” head coach Claude Julien said.
Two years ago, the Bruins were in familiar territory against the Vancouver Canucks. They know they have to get the job done in Game 6.
Otherwise, the Blackhawks will skate with the Stanley Cup for the second time in four years.
“It’s do or die. We’ve been there before,” Julien said. “Our goal is to create a Game 7.”