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Power play, faceoffs doom Blackhawks in Game 3

by Dan Rosen

BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn't have to look too far to figure out why his team was blanked in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night at TD Garden.

"You can talk about [faceoffs] and the power play," Quenneville said. "Those were basically the differentials in the game."

The Blackhawks were 0-for-5 on the power play with four shots on goal. They lost 40-of-56 faceoffs.

Not surprisingly, they couldn't score and the Boston Bruins won the game, 2-0, to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 series.

"Our power play tonight was definitely not good," Quenneville said.

It hasn't been for most of the season, but the Blackhawks’ power play is in the biggest slump of the season right now with 20 straight opportunities without a goal, including 11 in the Cup Final. They went nine straight games without a power-play goal in the regular season, but that included 19 chances.

Chicago hasn't scored a power-play goal in the past six games. Its last power-play goal came in the second period of Game 2 against the Los Angeles in the Western Conference Final. The Blackhawks are now 11.3 percent (7-for-62) on the power play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing No. 19 in the NHL during the regular season at 16.7 percent (25-for-150).

Worse yet, the Bruins scored their second power-play goal of the series in Game 3 and had several shorthanded opportunities, including a breakaway by Brad Marchand in the first period that might have turned into a goal had the puck not hopped away from his stick as he tried to deke to his backhand.

"We can help each other out more, keep more plays alive and not let them break out of their zone so easily," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said.

Quenneville gave the Bruins some credit for Chicago's power-play woes. The Blackhawks are 0-for-11 in the Cup Final.

"They box you out," he said. "They've got big bodies. They block shots. I think we had some chances to get some pucks through the net, we didn't. Our entries weren't great. That's something you want to look at."

The Blackhawks ought to look at what they're doing at the faceoff dot as well. Faceoffs were just as big of a problem for them in Game 3.

Chicago was 16-of-56 on faceoffs. Michal Handzus and Dave Bolland combined to go 1-for-17, and neither one of them took a draw in the third period. Toews was 8-for-19.

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was an outstanding 24-for-28 on the draw, including 8-of-10 against Toews and all eight he took against Handzus. Chris Kelly won eight of his 11 faceoffs, including all five he took against Bolland.

"It is definitely something we take a lot of pride in," Bergeron said of faceoffs. "We talk about it a lot and we have some very good centermen. It is not just about the four centers on the ice. It is about everybody chipping in and helping and winning those battles."


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