For much of the postseason, the question has been: where’s Dave Bolland?
After making a career of coming up big in the playoffs — whether as a defensive specialist, an absolute pest against opponents’ top skilled players or by chipping in a little on the offensive end — this time around Bolland has been awfully quiet during the Blackhawks’ run toward another Stanley Cup.
After missing the entire Minnesota series with a groin injury, Bolland returned for the Western Conference semifinals against the Red Wings and for the finals against L.A,, but his numbers presence was lacking a bit.
In 12 games before Wednesday’s series opener, he had just 1 assist and was a minus-3.
Funny how sometimes things change for some guys the bigger the stage.
Bolland, who scored on a sweet assist from Andrew Shaw to cut Boston’s lead to 3-2 in the third period and then assisted on Shaw’s game-winner in triple overtime, joined Brandon Saad in getting off the schneid in terms of a postseason goal.
In fact, it was the secondary players who carried the offensive load, something every team needs this time of year.
“It was a grinding game out there,” Patrick Sharp said. “It seemed like the third and fourth lines were creating stuff out there and contributing some big goals; none bigger than the one by Shawsy.
“I think it went off his pants or shin pads but who cares at this point. We’ll take it.”
For Saad, who had a game-high 9 shots on goal, his goal Wednesday gives him 5 points this postseason.
But the star of the evening, besides goalie Corey Crawford, was Shaw, who was noticeable from his first shift to his last. He scored his second career postseason game-winner 12:08 into the third overtime period, marking his third multi-point game of the playoffs.
“He’s a competitor,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He does things game in, game out. The bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge, he rises to the occasion.
“He knows where the front of net is. Doesn’t have to be pretty. He’s a warrior. He’s one of those guys that you appreciate he’s on your side and he’s relentless.”
Also joining the goal parade was defenseman Johnny Oduya, whose third-period goal ensured the first game of the series wouldn’t end in regulation.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.