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Game Four Preview: CHI @ BOS

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins – The Bruins have a chance to take a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the Stanley Cup Final tonight at TD Garden. But even though the B’s have seemingly shutdown the Blackhawks’ offense over the past five periods of action, they are staying focused on the task at hand - Game Four.

“We’ve been in this position before this year in the playoffs and you’ve got to go out there and play on your toes and play to win,” said Milan Lucic of how the Bruins are preparing for Game Four. “You got to approach it the same way the Hawks are going to approach it and that’s play to win and it’s the Stanley Cup Final. There’s no gimmes – I know we are up 2 to 1 – but there’s no reason to be overconfident about anything right now because, as the series goes on, it gets tougher and tougher. The series is long from over.”

Lucic expects the Blackhawks to be raring to go in an effort to head back to Chicago with the Cup Final tied at two. As a result, No. 17 believes Game Four is a pivotal game of the series.

“I think, as every series goes along, every game gets bigger and bigger and we know what this game means for them and we know what this game means for us,” he said. “Lots to look forward to, they are going to bring their best and we need to bring ours.”

“We’re happy we’re up, 2-1, but we’re focused on this next game, it’s going to be a huge game,” added Brad Marchand. “We know they’re going to come out extremely hard and we have to be ready.”

Being just two wins away from another Cup title, the Bruins realize how close they are, but can’t look too far ahead.

“Yes and no,” said Adam McQuaid, when asked if he allows himself to think about being halfway to a championship. “I think you realize the situation, but at the same time, you just get focused for the next game.

“I think at this point now we’re moving on and getting ready for Game Four. It’s taken a lot of effort every game to put ourselves in position to win. It’s going to be the same next game.”

SPECIAL TEAMS: Patrice Bergeron has scored both power-play goals in the series for the Bruins, who are 2-for-9 on the man-advantage in the Cup Final. Boston is now 9-for-54 (16.7%) throughout the 19 games of their postseason run.

“For the most part I think what you've seen is when you add a guy like [Jaromir] Jagr, when you put a guy like [Torey] Krug, who is extremely good on the power play, you've plugged in some certain holes or added to that depth.  Now you have a second power play that can do the same kind of thing,” explained Julien.

“Even [Monday], we get that one goal, but we had a couple other chances, had to create shots on net, pucks around the net.  We had our opportunities. Our power play right now is maybe not perfect, but it's a lot better.  At this stage of the season, where we've seen power plays really struggle, not just this year, but in the past years, I'm pretty happy with it.”

The Blackhawks are 0-for-8 through the first three games of the series, and were 0-for-5 in Game Three. The B’s have now killed off 27 straight power plays (dating back to Game Five against the New York Rangers) and have an 88.9% rate for the playoffs. The Blackhawks still lead the league with a 92.5% penalty kill rate.

The Blackhawks are 7-for-62 (11.3%) overall on the power play this postseason.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Tuukka Rask recorded his third career playoff shutout in Game Three against the Blackhawks, making 28 saves after recording 33 saves in Game 2 and 59 saves in Game One. He now holds the playoff lead in goals against average (1.64) and save percentage (.946). Rask's shutout streak is now at 122:26, heading into Game 4.

Corey Crawford made 33 saves for the Blackhawks in Game 3.

LOOSE ENDS: Rask’s shutout in Game 3 was the first shutout by a Bruins goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final since Tim Thomas’ 4-0 shutout of the Canucks in Game Seven of the 2011 Final...The Bruins are 2-0 lifetime when leading in a Stanley Cup Final series 2-1 and they are 2-0 lifetime in Game Fours when leading in a Stanley Cup Final series 2-1...The Blackhawks are 0-3 lifetime when trailing in a Stanley Cup Final series 1-2 and they are 2-1 lifetime in game fours when trailing in a Stanley Cup Final series 1-2...Tyler Seguin has a single assist in each of the first three games of the Stanley Cup Final...Patrice Bergeron had a goal in Game Three, giving him 4-2=6 totals in five of his last six games...Jaromir Jagr’s assist in Game Three was his 197th career playoff point moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the league’s all-time playoff points list. He passed Paul Coffey’s 196 points in his 199th career NHL playoff game...The Bruins are 11-2 in their last 13 games. They are outscoring opponents 40 to 21 in that span...The Black & Gold have won seven straight home playoff games.

INJURIES: Gregory Campbell remains the only Bruin out with an injury. Campbell, of course, was injured in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals, when he blocked an Evgeni Malkin slap shot that led to a broken right fibula. His recovery time is 6-8 weeks.

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