Tough go for Blackhawks without Hossa
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Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville shouts instructions to his team during the third period Monday against the Boston Bruins. Marian Hossa's absence forced Quenneville to radically alter his lines in Game 3.
BOSTON — The Blackhawks managed to win without Duncan Keith in the last round, but they couldn't beat the Boston Bruins on Monday night without Marian Hossa.
After trying to take the warm-up, Hossa was a late scratch with an upper-body injury and the Hawks couldn't overcome the loss of their second-best all-around player.
The result was a 2-0 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"We're hopeful he'll be ready for the next game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Bruins lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 back here Wednesday.
"It's something we were prepared for all day that he might not play," captain Jonathan Toews said. "It happens sometimes that you're missing one of your best players and you've got to find a way to play without him."
Patrick Sharp said playing without Hossa was no excuse for the loss.
"We found out after warm-ups that he wasn't going to play," Sharp said. "We've got plenty of guys that can step up. You take a guy like that out of the lineup and it hurts, but it's definitely not the excuse we're going to use.
"We had plenty of chances to make a difference out there, and we didn't."
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he found out Hossa wasn't playing when everyone else did.
"Just found out when I received the game sheet," Julien said. "I was surprised as anybody else. But to be honest with you, there weren't any changes in our game. As I mentioned the other day when I was asked about another player, we don't make our game plan based on an individual.
"I can definitely tell you they lost a pretty important player on their roster, but that doesn't mean we change our game. I think it's important we stick with what we believe in."
Only Corey Crawford's strong play in goal for the Hawks with 33 saves kept it close.
The Hawks now have just 1 goal against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask on the last two games.
"I don't think (he's in our head)," Toews said. "The last two series there have been times when we had trouble scoring goals. Sometimes it happens. We've just got to be better and work harder for those loose pucks."
While the Hawks flailed again on the power play, going 0-for-3. Boston got a power-play goal in the second period from Patrice Bergeron to make it 2-0, and the game was over.
Again, the Hawks spent most of their time on the perimeter, unable to get inside on the Bruins.
"They box you out," Quenneville said. "They've got big bodies. They block shots. I think we had some chances to get some pucks through the net, but we didn't. Our entries weren't great."
"We maybe took a few too many penalties, and we didn't create on our power play," Toews said. "As soon as we get one that confidence is going to come.
"We stuck with it for 60 minutes, but we just didn't score enough goals to win. We didn't score any goals. We've got a day to think about it and regroup. I don't think we're discouraged or frustrated at all."
Ben Smith filled in for Hossa, making his first appearance in the playoffs for the Hawks since 2011 when he had 3 goals in the seven-game series against Vancouver. Smith was minus-1 playing with Dave Bolland and Sharp.
Hossa's absence forced Quenneville to radically alter his lines, using Toews with fourth liners Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger for the first half of the game.
Quenneville was trying to keep Toews away from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, but he may have outsmarted himself as Chara was on the ice for every one of Toews' shifts in the first period.
"It's always good to shake things up a little bit," Toews said. "You might get a little chemistry. Myself, I've been playing against the (David) Krejci line for the most part."
The Hawks were 0-for-2 on the power play in a scoreless first period and almost got scored on twice on the second one with Shawn Thornton off for roughing at 14:15.
Brad Marchand had the puck roll off his stick on a partial breakaway on Boston's best short-handed chance.
Daniel Paille opened the scoring at 2:13 of the second period after Bolland fanned when trying to control the puck. Bergeron's goal came at 14:05 just as a 5-on-3 was expiring.
"It just came down to a couple plays, that's all," Keith said. "We played hard, it was just a couple plays that made the difference."
The Bruins won 71 percent of the faceoffs as Michal Handzus was 0-for-10 and Bolland 1-7. Bergeron was 24-4 for Boston.
"You can talk about that and our power play," Quenneville said. "Those were basically the differentials in the game.
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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