Thursday May 6th, 2010

1. Tuukka Rask, Bruins. It looked like it might not be his night when Arron Asham scored on the Flyers' first shot just 2:32 into the contest, but Rask rebounded to stop the next 34 he faced to back Boston to a 4-1 victory in Game 3. It wasn't a highlight-filled performance, but that's a testament to Rask's economical style. No need for the spectacular when the puck always seems to hit him in the 'B.' Speaking of hitting, Philly's forwards jostled him early and often in an effort to shake him up. That tactic would have worked against the volatile Tim Thomas but Rask kept his cool. Just the same, it might be nice if his teammates stepped up with a little protection in Game 4.

2. Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks. Hard to know what Joel Quenneville was wearing when he decided to place Byfuglien alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line, but it clearly matched his genius hat. The unit clicked instantly with Byfuglien looked like Bronko Nagurski on skates, leading the charge to the Vancouver crease and making life miserable for Roberto Luongo. He took a beating as a result, but the effort paid off. Big Buff's line at the end of the night: six hits, six shots, four penalty minutes and his first career playoff hat trick.

3. Antti Niemi, Blackhawks. The 5-2 final score suggests a walk in the park for Chicago in Game 3, but the result might have been very different if not for Niemi's first period heroics. While the Canucks charged out of the gate will ill humor, the rookie netminder was the only 'Hawk ready to match their intensity. With his defenders flubbing their assignments like a bunch of squirts, Niemi was forced to make a series of acrobatic stops, stoning Jannik Hansen, Daniel Sedin, Steve Bernier and Alex Burrows in quick succession as part of a 16-save first period.

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