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Blackhawks Cut Down Bruins 3-1 In Game 5, Go In For Kill Tomorrow Night

After squandering a chance to construct a historically insurmountable 3-1 Stanley Cup lead by not taking full advantage of a goalie so leaky that Mario and Luigi couldn’t fix him, the Bruins needed to come back with a much stronger effort in Game Five. And they certainly did. They cleaned things up immensely after Wednesday’s shitshow. Tuukka Rask was outstanding. But it wasn’t enough.

The Blackhawks turned in a defensive performance of their own to whittle down the Bruins chances and eke out a huge 3-1 win that gives them a chance to clinch in Boston on Monday night. It almost looked Chicago played so well in front of Corey Crawford so they wouldn’t have to rely on him to win the game. Because the Bruins scarcely challenged him. When they were getting O-zone possession, they often looked for the extra pass instead of firing away on a guy who they just easily scored five goals on.

Worse, the Bs lost Patrice Bergeron due to some sort of mystery ailment that sent him to a Chicago hospital during the game, presumably for x-rays or MRI. Not good at all. Conversely, the Hawks lost Jonathan Toews for the latter part of the game. He was the recipient of a clean, hard hit from Johnny Boychuk that initially and clearly made contact with Toews shoulder before catching his noggin in the follow-through. Toews’ squash also caught the ice in the aftermath of the hit. The NHL is looking at it but I can’t see a suspension coming.

The first Hawks goal came courtesy of yet another fortuitous bounce (funny how that keeps happening, eh?) and a hyena-like Patrick Kane. Johnny Oduya’s shot from the left circle changed speed and trajectory after it shattered Dennis Seidenberg’s stick before hitting Rask’s right pad. Like the feral canine desperately seeking its next meal, Kane, just about on the goal line, smoothly gathered the puck and tucked it behind a splayed Rask to make it 1-0.

Less than eight minutes later, he found another morsel waiting for him when he snuck behind the D and beat David Krejci to a goalmouth rebound to give the Hawks a lead they’d never relinquish. Zdeno Chara’s rarely-used laser (is he dinged up, too?) from the left circle made it 2-1 early in the third and they Bs tried to press for the equalizer but could never get on track against what appeared to be a just-a-bit hungrier Chicago squad. Of course, the Bs best contribution other than their goalie may very well have come from Carl Soderberg, he of the NHL playoff debut. He certainly came to play. The same can’t be said for many others. And they goddamn better Monday night.

But you gotta tip your cap to the Hawks. They basically played the Bruins style and clogged up their lanes and prevented chances. Unlike the Bs, when Chicago got chances, they made the most of them. So, like two years ago, the Bruins need to win a Game Six on home ice to extend this fantastic NHL postseason just one more game (maybe Gary Bettman can reach into David Stern’s bag o’ tricks). They’ll need more from their stars. They’ll need more from their D. And they just need their goalie to keep doing his thing. If Bergeron is going to be lost for any amount of time, forget it and move on. Fill his slot and play hockey. What will be will be. It’s the NHL playoffs—star players go down. No time to cry now.

For the first time since the first round, the Bruins are in a must-win game. Recent history has been both cruel and kind to them in these affairs. It’s pretty simple now: win and play one more or lose and start those Game Four hauntings. We’ll find out tomorrow night at the Garden.

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