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Stanley Cup Final: Game 3 Report Card for Boston's 2-0 win over Chicago

Tuukka RaskTuukka Rask made 28 stops in Game 3 and earned his third clean slate of the postseason. (Elise Amendola/AP)

By Allan Muir

Here is a completely subjective look at some of the key elements in Boston's convincing 2-0 win over Chicago in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final:

Goaltending

Corey Crawford, Chicago: Most nights, a .943 save percentage puts you in the mix for the Three Stars. This just wasn't one of those nights. Crawford was sharp, especially on a second-period power play that saw the shorthanded Bruins generate three premium chances, and he robbed Patrice Bergeron on an in-tight chance to keep the game close in the first. He didn't have much chance on Bergeron's eventual insurance goal, but he was beaten high glove -- for the second time in a row -- by Daniel Paille for the winner. The B's know he can be exploited there until he proves otherwise. B

Tuukka Rask, Boston: I'll go out on a limb and guess there hasn't been a less strenuously contested Stanley Cup Final shutout in a long time. Rask made 28 stops to post his third clean slate of the postseason, but he was rarely challenged thanks to a concerted effort from his teammates, some weak puck decisions by the Hawks, and 17 (!) shots that simply missed the mark. When you see guys trying to play it a little too cute like that, it's a sign that a goalie has gotten into their heads. A

GAME 3: Recap Boxscore | Highlights | Photos | Complete schedule

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Special teams

Chicago: "Give credit to how they're playing on the PK," Duncan Keith said of Boston's smothering defense prior to Game 3. "Sometimes it's a fine line between scoring and not scoring." Sure, like there's a fine line between Seinfeld and The Michael Richards Show. The Hawks had two chances to open the scoring with the extra man in the first period and peppered Rask with ... one shot. They had another chance to draw within one midway through the third, but barely entered the zone. For the night, the stats show they were 0-for-5, but it's not just the lack of scoring that's killing them. It's that the pursuit has become so futile that it drains momentum from their five-on-five game. The penalty kill wasn't much better, allowing Bergeron's insurance goal just as the first penalty in a brief five-on-three chance expired. F

Boston: Another clean slate on the PK makes it 26 consecutive kills for the Bruins, who faced little resistance while forcing the Hawks to the outside on their four chances tonight. The power play showed a bit of zip for a change, with a spectacular cross-crease pass from Jaromir Jagr setting up Bergeron for a tap-in into the open side. Can't ask for much more than that. A

CAZENEUVE: Bruins dominate 'Hawks in Game 3

Defense

Chicago: The final score was a little flattering, wasn't it? The Bruins dominated the Hawks with their speed -- Chris Kelly and Paille both drew penalties by turning defenders inside out down low -- and a net-front presence that should have inflated the final result if not for some strong play from Crawford. Dave Bolland had a brutal night, taking three penalties and allowing his pocket to be picked by Paille at the side of the net, leading to Boston's first goal. Short of both hustle and composure, the Hawks weren't ready to compete. D

Boston: If other teams need the blueprint that reveals how to shut down the Blackhawks, it's all there in tonight's game. This was a comprehensive defensive effort by the Bruins, a front-to-back commitment to choke the life out of Chicago's offense. The Hawks managed to make more shot attempts (56-51), but as Lunch Lady Doris once said, there's very little meat in those gym mats. By forcing the Hawks to settle for bids from distance or the outside, the B's played exactly the game they wanted. A

KWAK: With Hossa out, Blackhawks go cold in Game 3

Offense

Chicago: While losing a player of Marian Hossa's caliber would leave a hole in any offense, his last-minute absence wasn't the problem: it was another night of tentative play from superstars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Both players are finding ways to contribute away from the puck, but when the rest of the team is struggling to score, they're the guys who are supposed to pull the car out of the ditch. So far, it hasn't happened. It's looking like Toews might be battling through an upper-body injury that's limiting his effectiveness, but Kane? Where's the tenacity he discovered late in the Los Angeles series? And what about Patrick Sharp, who missed the net five times tonight? And Bryan Bickell, who was a rumor through the first two periods, couldn't find his legs when he finally started to draw a regular shift in the third. The Hawks have now scored one goal in the last six-plus periods, 122:26 and counting, but it's not about frustration or gripping their sticks too tight. It's about playing the game the right way. Until they decide to pay the price to earn some space in the middle of the ice, their luck's not going to change. F

Boston: Tough to criticize a team that outscored its opponent in a Cup final game, but the one area where the Bruins need to bear down is on offense. Sure, they won 40-of-56 draws on the night, a stunning 71 percent, and that success allowed them to dominate possession time. They got another goal from the revamped third line, Boston's best for much of the night, and scored on the power play, which has been a struggle all season. But there were too many missed chances to add to their total (Bergeron, Marchand, Jagr and Tyler Seguin all came up short on premium bids) that could have come back to haunt them if not for Rask and the defense. They're getting their opportunities, but the series could come down to their ability to finish. B

Photos: SI’s best shots of the Stanley Cup Final

Coaching

Chicago: There were plenty of questions after Chicago dropped Game 2 in OT, and even more after Hossa couldn't go in Game 3. Quenneville had none of the answers. His last-minute roster filler, Ben Smith, showed some spark, but made a couple of bad decisions on the play that ended with Paille scoring the winner. Viktor Stalberg brought the speed that Coach Q asked for, but did nothing with an extended chance to skate alongside Toews. And what was up with playing Toews with Marcus Kruger and Michal Frolik for nearly half the game? An admission that Toews is playing like a bottom-six player right now -- all hustle, no finish? An attempt to free up at least one of his top-six wingers from facing Chara? Either way, the Hawks couldn't get their offense on track, and Quenneville's tinkering didn't help. F

Boston: The Bruins pride themselves on their team depth, but the fourth line has leaked oil ever since Gregory Campbell was lost. Claude Julien wisely shortened his bench tonight, limiting the minutes of Shawn Thornton and Kaspars Daugavins (whose confidence looks shot), but finding time for Rich Peverley, who showed a lot of jump early on. Julien pushed all the right buttons ... again. A
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