Playoffs Tonight: Can ‘Hawks solve Rask?

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Game 4: Boston Bruins host Chicago Blackhawks (8:00 p.m. ET — NBC/Live Extra)
Boston leads series 2-1

Through three games, Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has a 1.22 GAA and .959 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final — so yeah, he’s been good.

Rask turned aside 28 consecutive shots in Game 3 to give the Bruins an edge in the series courtesy of a 2-0 victory. However, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t think that the problem is that Rask’s unbeatable.

“Tonight, I thought we made it rather easy on him,” Quenneville said after the contest.

Part of the Blackhawks’ offensive woes can be attributed to their struggles with the man advantage and at the faceoff circle.

“It’s tough to get a clean entry (versus Boston),” said Quenneville.

“It starts losing the draw initially. That’s the area we have to get better. Hopefully, you don’t have to resort to the entry.”

It also doesn’t help that captain Jonathan Toews has now gone 10 playoff games without a goal.

“I think right now whether it’s him or our power play, offensively I think we’re all a little gun shy in that area,” said Quenneville.

“One thing with Johnny, you can always measure how he’s going to be competing, because game in, game out he leaves it out there. Offensively maybe pressing in that area.”

Of course, it’s not like the Boston Bruins aren’t dealing with similar issues. They’ve won their last two games despite the fact that David Krejci, Nathan Horton, and Milan Lucic were all held off the scoresheet in both contests.

Those three forwards got the Bruins this far with their offensive contributions, but what’s separated the Blackhawks and Bruins recently has been their third lines. Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille meshed well since being united in Game 2.

“They just seem to be working well together,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “A lot of credit goes to them. I’m just a little ticked off that I didn’t put them together sooner.”

All that being said, these two teams remain very evenly matched, especially if Marian Hossa is able to return from an upper-body injury.

Just as Rask was the hero in Game 3, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford could be tonight. Or perhaps Toews or one of Chicago’s complimentary players will step up.

One thing is for sure though: The pressure if on Chicago to even the series tonight.