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updated: 6/18/2013 5:30 AM

Blackhawks beat up, and down, by Bruins

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  • Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara left, of Slovakia, and Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) are separate by officials during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Monday, June 17, 2013. The Bruins won 2-0.

      Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara left, of Slovakia, and Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) are separate by officials during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Monday, June 17, 2013. The Bruins won 2-0.
    Associated Press

  • Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia, takes down Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Monday, June 17, 2013. The Bruins won 2-0.

      Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia, takes down Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) during the third period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals in Boston, Monday, June 17, 2013. The Bruins won 2-0.
    Associated Press

  • Video: Bruins take 2-1 series lead

  • Video: Hawks legends watch Game 3 from Chicago

  • Video: Duncan Keith says Hawks need to be patient

 
 

Time and time again, the Blackhawks have been tested.

Time and time again, the Hawks have come up with the answer.

Now, we'll find out if they have one more reply -- on hockey's biggest stage.

With a couple stars hurting, the Hawks are facing adversity again after losing 2-0 in Game 3 on Monday night at TD Garden in Boston, dropping a crucial match in the Stanley Cup Final and falling behind in the series 2-1 with Game 4 on the road Wednesday night.

But it wasn't as close as the score might suggest.

The Hawks were beat up and down the ice, beat to the net, beat in the corners, beat on special teams, beat in the faceoff circle (29 percent), and Zdeno Chara even took the time to beat up Bryan Bickell as time was running out.

The Hawks looked intimidated and they played small and soft, as you feared they might against a very big and mean team on the road.

Still, as brutal a pounding as it was on the ice, if the Hawks show up and win Game 4, they can regain home ice, forget all about Game 3 and make this a long series.

"It's just one game tonight," said Boston's Dennis Seidenberg. "Game 4 is just as big as this one."

Game 3 winners have won 21 of 25 Cups after series were tied at 1-1, though neither team was buying into any history, knowing every game is a series unto itself.

"Stats at this time of year don't mean a thing," said Boston coach Claude Julien. "No matter what we are, it's about winning this game tonight. I don't pay much attention to stats when it comes to that stuff. We've seen those things change. It just takes one game to change the stat."

The Hawks were without an injured Marian Hossa, replaced in the lineup by Ben Smith, who played one game for the Hawks this year but displayed a nose for the net in the 2011 playoff series against Vancouver.

Smith showed his customary effort, but he was one of the few. The Hawks were rarely near the Boston net, and they've scored 2 goals now in the last 10 periods of hockey and only 5 in the equivalent of four hockey games.

"It's a low-chance game and a low-chance series," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "It's hard to get A-plus chances. You have to manufacture second chances. They're not gonna give up much off the rush."

In an attempt to get his offense in gear, and get his stars away from the constant pressure of Chara, Quenneville shook up all his lines. But the coaching move of the series so far came in the second period of Game 2 when Julien moved Tyler Seguin onto a line with Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly.

That group had both goals in Boston's Game 2 victory and got the Bruins on the board early in the second period when Kelly won a puck battle with Nick Leddy and then Paille lifted Dave Bolland's stick, stole the puck and fired it past Corey Crawford glove high short side from in tight for a 1-0 lead at 2:13.

The same line then drew 2 straight penalties, as Kelly drove to the net and was taken down by Bolland, and Paille did the exact same thing on the same side of the ice and was brought down by Niklas Hjalmarsson.

The Bruins got a power-play goal just as the 5-on-3 expired after the Hawks lost yet another faceoff and Jaromir Jagr found Patrice Bergeron wide open across the crease for an easy goal and a 2-0 lead at 14:05 of the second.

That was more than enough for Boston. The Hawks' offense was nonexistent, and Jonathan Toews -- who has looked hurt for weeks -- was seen icing his hand on the bench late in the game.

"We didn't give them much," said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who faced 28 shots but few good scoring chances. "It was a very complete game by our side."

Adding injury to insult, Chara threw Bickell to the ice with 12 seconds left and began pounding away. Viktor Stalberg, back in the lineup after two games in the stands, arrived late and made absolutely no effort to get Chara off Bickell, though maybe he asked Chara politely to remove his fist from Bickell's face.

It was a perfectly symbolic ending to a complete beating.

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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