The Chicago Blackhawks needed only the one goal, apparently. Their goalie Corey Crawford was the difference, putting forward arguably his best performance of these Stanley Cup playoffs on Tuesday.
Thanks to a 30-save shutout from Crawford and a goal from the red-hot Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks took Game 3 by a final score of 1-0, and now have the Wild on the brink of elimination and a surprising sweep in the second round.
Kane needed only the slightest space to sneak a wrist shot by Devan Dubnyk on a first-period power play, giving himself at least a goal in each of the first three games to begin this series.
Crawford, who endured his struggles early in the first round, was the story the rest of the way against the Wild. He recorded his fourth career post-season shutout.
He denied Mikael Granlund on a breakaway in the second period. He stuck out the left pad just in time to stop the puck on the goal line during a scramble in front of him in the second.
And again, in the third, with the Wild buzzing around his crease for the equalizer, Crawford was forced to abandon his stick, falling back to keep the puck out with his blocker.
For every challenge the Wild threw his way in Game 3, Crawford had the answer.
And now the Blackhawks are one win away from their third consecutive trip to the Western Conference final.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has goals in the first three games of this second-round series against the Minnesota Wild — a rare feat within the Blackhawks franchise over the last 25 years.
His power play goal late in the first period of Game 3 gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead, and they carried that advantage into the third period on the road in Minnesota. A win for the Blackhawks and they would put the Wild one loss away from elimination and a potential sweep. With his goal tonight, Kane has scored in each of his last four playoff games, dating back to the series clincher against Nashville.
Former Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher is plying his trade in Switzerland right now, but confirmed what was in a recent report that he has been contacted about coaching vacancies in the National Hockey League.
During the lockout-shortened season, The Lightning fired Boucher, who was in his third year in Tampa Bay. He has been behind the bench with SC Bern in the Swiss League since January of 2014.
“I’ve never hid the fact that I definitely do want to go back. I have another year on my contract here. Family’s happy, had a terrific year, saw a lot of good things, learned and grew. I’ve got no problem staying here. Last year I couldn’t accept it because I didn’t have an out-clause. This year I do have an out-clause,” said Boucher in a radio interview with TSN 1050 Toronto (toward the end of the audio clip).
“But it would certainly be in the right situation, with the right people. And if I fit, it would certainly interest me, but like I said, it has to be in the right situation because I have a very good situation right now. But I’ve been approached, so I mean it’s a possibility. We’ll see what happens.”
Naturally, he wasn’t about to divulge any more information beyond that.
“But you won’t get anything else out of me,” he continued, with a laugh.
There are a few teams across the league right now with vacant coaching positions, and that includes the Toronto Maple Leafs. Darren Dreger of TSN put this little nugget out on Twitter earlier Tuesday evening:
Henrik Lundqvist apparently wasn’t expecting it. While falling to the ice, Alex Ovechkin released a perfect wrist shot to beat the New York Rangers goalie on the blocker side.
It was a beautiful goal from Ovechkin, who looked unstoppable as he split New York’s ‘D’ with a determined effort, fell to the ice and made his shot. However, the Capitals couldn’t complete the comeback and lost Game 2, with the Rangers tying up this second-round series.
“He’s one of the best players in the game, there’s no question,” said Lundqvist, as per CSN Washington.
“There’s not a lot of players that can do what he does out there and it’s a challenge for us every game to try to stop him. But to be able to shoot it that hard on your knees, he definitely surprised me a little bit there.
“But you have to be ready for anything, especially that line. They’re playing really well, so you just have to be on your toes out there.”
It didn’t take long, only 38 seconds, for New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider to make an impact on Saturday’s Game 2 against the Washington Capitals.
His goal, which came off a rebound in the first minute of play, got the Rangers started on their way to a dominant first period and an eventual win to even the series at one game apiece.
Kreider could’ve had more, too, his speed a factor throughout the game. He led all New York forwards in ice time, and had eight shot attempts to go with four hits.
“He’s a huge difference maker. He puts a big influence on the game for us the way he can skate, the way he can hit and his shot and his physicality,” said Ryan McDonagh, as per Rangers Rants. “All together it’s a tough combo to defend for anyone. It’s a good sign that he was able to get it going and he’s got to continue that for us if we want to be successful.”
Added Dan Boyle: “He’s been doing it all year. He’s the fastest player I’ve ever played with by far and I’ve played with some pretty fast players. Possibly the strongest. He’s done it all year long.”