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Game 4 – Boston leads series 2-1

Thanks to another herculean effort from Tuukka Rask, the Bruins are seeking a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Blackhawks at home in Game 4 on Wednesday night.

Line: Boston -135, Chicago +115, Total: 4.5

Rask stood on his head in Game 3, turning aside all 28 shots Chicago peppered him with, and leading his team to the 2-0 home victory. Boston held the edge in nearly every statistical category, outshooting the Blackhawks 35-28, outhitting them 31-25 and winning an astounding 40-of-56 faceoffs (71%). The Bruins converted on 1-of-4 power-play chances while Chicago was 0-for-5 with the man advantage. Boston has now killed off 27 straight penalties during its postseason run. Bruins LW Daniel Paille, who scored the overtime goal in Game 2, recorded the first tally of Game 3, propelling his team to its fourth win in the past five meetings with the Blackhawks. Boston now has an 8-2 home record this postseason, including seven straight victories at TD Garden. The Blackhawks fell to 3-5 on the road during this postseason, and also lost star RW Marian Hossa to an upper-body injury. He is listed as questionable for Game 4. Although Chicago’s offense has scored just one goal in the past two games combined, this club had scored 28 goals in its previous nine contests (3.1 goals per game), including four in Game 1 against this Boston squad. And history shows that after two or more straight Unders, the Blackhawks are an amazing 18-3 (86%), while the Bruins are just 11-15 (42%) in the past three seasons at home coming off a home win by 2+ goals. The pick here is underdog <b>CHICAGO</b> to win Game 4 and even the series.

Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford (13-7, 1.73 GAA, .936 Sv Pct. in playoffs) has also played very well in his first Stanley Cup Finals, saving 110-of-117 shots (.940 Sv Pct., 1.72 GAA). In the Game 3 loss, he stopped 33-of-35 shots the Bruins put on net. So far in the series, the Blackhawks have just two players with multiple points, C Andrew Shaw (1 G, 1 A, +2 rating) and C Dave Bolland (1 G, 1 A, +1 rating). Five other teammates have at least a dozen shots on goal (RW Marian Hossa 17, C Patrick Sharp 17, RW Patrick Kane 13, C Jonathan Toews 12 and LW Brandon Saad 12), but only Sharp and Saad have actually gotten any of those chances past Tuukka Rask. Hossa’s potential absence looms large, as not only has he played the most minutes (28:59 avg. ice time) of any Blackhawks forward this series, he is one of three Chicago players with 15 points in the postseason, tallying seven goals and eight assists with a stellar +8 rating. Sharp (9 G, 6 A, +2 rating) and Kane (6 G, 9 A, +3 rating) are the others tied for the team lead. Despite leading the Blackhawks in minutes played this series, D Duncan Keith (35:43 avg. ice time) and D Niklas Hjalmarsson (29:32 avg. ice time) have both been held without a point. The Blackhawks are 0-for-11 on the power play in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (14-5, 1.64 GAA, .946 Sv Pct. in playoffs) has had a phenomenal series so far, saving 120-of-125 shots (.960 Sv Pct., 1.22 GAA). He’s led his team to seven straight home wins, saving 227-of-237 shots (.958 Sv Pct.) during this home win streak. This includes turning aside 135-of-137 shots (.985 Sv Pct.) in the past four games at TD Garden. The Bruins have three players with three points in this series, LW Daniel Paille (2 G, 1 A, +1 rating), LW Milan Lucic (2 G, 1 A, +1 rating) and C Tyler Seguin (0 G, 3 A, +1 rating). Three others have two points, including C Patrice Bergeron, the only player in this series with more than one goal. Both of Bergeron’s tallies have been on the power play, where the Bruins are 2-of-9 in this series. Seguin and Bergeron lead the team with 13 shots on goals in this series. Although C David Krejci (9 G, 14 A, 23 points) and LW Nathan Horton (7 G, 11 A, 18 points) lead the NHL in postseason scoring, both have been held without a point in each of the past two games. Boston has five players that have logged at least 28 minutes per game during the NHL Finals, including three that are over 30 minutes — D Dennis Seidenberg (34:53 avg. ice time), D Zdeno Chara (33:57 avg. ice time) and D Andrew Ference (30:48 avg. ice time). Seidenberg had a game-high six blocked shots and a game-high-tying four hits on Monday.

Source: Statfox

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