BOSTON — You could see the frustration in the eyes of the Chicago Blackhawks and on the face of Boston’s Brad Marchand.
That’s because, with 11.9 left on the clock last night and the Bruins on their way to a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, a clearly discouraged Chicago squad that had just suffered through its sixth straight period of disappointing hockey turned to what so many teams do.
The Blackhawks became dirty, and the sequence ended with Marchand pinned to the ice and Chicago’s Andrew Shaw taking a couple stiff jabs at the B’s Bruins resident pest’s famous prominent nose.
It was only a matter of time until the frustration began to show for the Blackhawks, who struggled to generate any legitimate chances last night against a Bruins team that simply looked bigger, faster and stronger on the way to a 2-0 victory.
“It’s just frustrating man,” said Chicago defenseman and assistant captain Duncan Keith. “Every time it seemed like we should have had a scoring chance it seemed like the puck was getting blocked or something else happened. We need to find a way.”
The stat sheet may have said that the shot advantage was only 35-28 in favor of the Bruins, but anyone watching the game knows those numbers are exceedingly misleading.
Chicago rarely even threatened to score. Of those 28 shots, just a hand-full were even decent scoring chances, while the Bruins regularly peppered tough shots on Hawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Make no mistake. Tuukka Rask was great, but he did not steal this game. The Bruins were in control.
Led by a rock-solid defense, and Rask continuing to shine bright, the series began to take on a similar look to the way the Bruins simply smothered the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.