By Kevin Allen, USA TODAY Sports
- Daniel Paille has gone from role player to star performer in the Stanley Cup Final as he contributed a goal and a memorable drive to the net to lead the Boston Bruins to a 2-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 Monday night.
Paille scored Boston's first goal at 2:13 of the second period and then drew a penalty when he took the puck strong to the net. Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson was forced to pull him down, creating a 5-on-3 power play situation.
Patrice Bergeron, set up by Jaromir Jagr with a pass across the crease, scored at 14:05 of the second, just after the first Chicago player came back on the ice to give the Blackhawks their 2-0 lead.
The Bruins, who won the Stanley Cup in 2011, now have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that resumes Wednesday in Boston. The Bruins have won seven consecutive games at home in this postseason.
Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had to play the game with stitches in his head after suffering a nasty cut during a collision with Milan Lucic during the pre-game skate.
Paille only had two goals in the postseason when the Stanley Cup Final started, but he scored the overtime goal in Game 2 that allowed the Bruins to tie the series. The overtime goal was scored with a strong shot from the slot after a perfect feed from Tyler Seguin.
In Game 3, he created his own scoring chance by lifting Dave Bolland's stick to claim a puck. He then whirled and fired the puck past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask continues to be near invincible, giving up one or no goals for the seventh time in the past eight games. When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup championship in 2011, goalie Tim Thomas was the Conn Smythe Trophy and Rask would be the favorite if the Bruins win the Stanley Cup this season.
This game was Rask's third shutout in the last seven games. He wasn't overworked, and didn't face too many dangerous chances. He had to make a good save in the first period on a strong drive by Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith in the first period.
The Bruins superiority in the face-off circle continued to play a role in series. The Bruins were 29-13 in the face-off circle in the first two periods. Bergeron was 19-3 in those period, which helped the Bruins own the puck for most of the opening 40 minutes. Bergeron also had six shots on goal during in those two periods.
Boston's defense also helped Rask by blocking 13 shots over those first two periods. By comparison, Chicago blocked two shots.
The Blackhawks had a late power-play opportunity when David Krejci hooked Chicago forward Brandon Saad who was driving to the net. But the Bruins killed off the penalty, meaning the Blackhawks haven't scored in 19 consecutive power play chances.