Targeting Chara works wonders for Blackhawks
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Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara collides with Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in Saturday's Gaem 5. Chara has been on the ice for 8 of the Hawks' last 9 goals in this Stanley Cup Final.
Talk about a plan that's working to perfection.
Since announcing they were going to make a concentrated effort to go right at Boston stud defenseman Zdeno Chara, the big guy has been on the ice for 8 of the Blackhawks' last 9 goals.
"Well, they've gone there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I don't think Z has been a bad player for us. Just because he's on the ice doesn't mean they're his fault.
"I get to watch those games and dissect it, and I can't really tell a single goal that's all Z's fault. He takes a lot of heat because he's on the ice for those goals and what he means to our hockey club.
"They're throwing the pucks in his corner and they want to get him to turn and tire him out. But he's a well-trained athlete that can handle that, and you'll see that in the next game and hopefully the one after that."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville could care less who's on the ice for Boston — Chara, Charo or Chachi — as long as the puck ends up in the Bruins' net.
"You've got to take advantage of the opportunities because you don't get a ton of them," Quenneville said. "It's like we always say, I don't care who scores for us, I don't care who's on the ice for them."
Courtesy of another stellar outing Saturday where he turned away 24 of the 25 shots he faced, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford improved to 11-2 with a 1.54 GAA and .939 save percentage in 13 starts at United Center this postseason.
"I knew he was going to come out and play one of his best games of the playoffs," Andrew Shaw said. "He proved me right. He's been a great player.
"He's been our best player all playoffs."
By the numbers:
With their win Saturday, the Hawks improved to 18-4 in Games 5-6-7 of a playoff series under coach Joel Quenneville — including a 10-2 home record.
The Hawks posted their league-high 11th win when scoring first in playoffs (11-3) and improved to 10-0 when leading after the second period.
Looking for a full 60:
If you look at the Bruins and see a team that can look completely different from period to period, you're not alone.
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask said that was the case again in a 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks in Game 5.
"I think our work ethic, we stepped it up a notch in the third period and that created some chances and created a goal," Rask said. "It just wasn't enough.
"Everybody's trying. Maybe it's just we're thinking too much. And then when you do that, you kind of take a step back in your game and not do the things you're supposed to do. We just have think before the game and when the game time comes, just go out there and execute."
Joel Quenneville was asked about the similarities between the 2010 Cup winners and this year's team, particularly when it comes to Bryan Bickell and net buster Dustin Byfuglien.
"Kind of comparable," he said. "Very nice comparables when you go back to the impact Buf had in a couple of series and Bicks in a couple of these series."
He said it:
"He's been good every year, to be honest with you, every single year. He's been dynamic with the puck every year he's been here. I know from playing with him that there's no guy I'd rather have the puck going down the ice and following the play up with than him."
— Duncan Keith on Game 5 hero Patrick Kane
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