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Rask, Bruins blank Red Wings to grab series lead

by Dan Rosen

DETROIT -- Provided the Boston Bruins hound the puck, possess it, play smart with it and rarely let it go like they did Tuesday night, they won't have to worry about the Detroit Red Wings' speed for the rest of this Eastern Conference First Round series.

That might be two more games.

The Bruins scored twice in the first period -- their second goal coming off a Detroit turnover followed by an ill-timed line change -- and never let the Red Wings sniff a comeback en route to a 3-0 victory at Joe Louis Arena.

After losing Game 1 at TD Garden, the Bruins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Boston improved to 14-1 in Game 3s under coach Claude Julien.

Game 4 is Thursday at Joe Louis Arena (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN, NESN, FS-D).

"That's the way we need to play," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "That's how we get success, when we're first on pucks and we're disturbing their breakouts."

The Red Wings are obviously the less experienced team in the series, with 10 players who have appeared in fewer than 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Detroit coach Mike Babcock thinks their inexperience was obvious from the opening faceoff in Game 3.

"Well, I thought we looked like kids tonight, for sure," Babcock said. "No question about it."

Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton and forward Jordan Caron, 20 and 23, respectively, scored their first career Stanley Cup Playoff goals in the first period. Boston goalie Tuukka Rask made 23 saves, with very few coming off second-chance opportunities, for his fourth career playoff shutout.

Rask has allowed two goals on 82 shots through three games in the series and stopped 57 of the past 58 shots he's faced.

Bergeron added an empty-net goal at 18:01 of the third period to seal the victory.

"They're a really good team, there's no doubt about that," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said of Boston. "You can't take anything away from them. Absolutely not. But I don't think we played our best. There's no doubt about that. Not good enough."

Hamilton nearly scored two more goals in the first 11:15 of the first period, firing a shot off the right post and another just wide to the right of the net. Each scoring chance came off a defensive-zone giveaway by the Red Wings.

When Hamilton found the area between the pipes, he made it count, scoring a power-play goal at 9:00 of the first period off a 150-foot rush capped by a sneaky shot into the top right corner.

Hamilton got the puck between the circles in Boston's zone and went untouched into the right circle in Detroit's zone before picking the corner.

"I knew I was able to skate, it was just a matter of what to do at the blue line, whether to make a pass or shot," Hamilton said. "I saw shot availability and took it."

Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard's first move was down, and he couldn't recover in time to stop Hamilton's shot. Howard didn't react to Hamilton's high shot until it was behind him.

"That goal can't go in," Babcock said.

"It's probably one I should have had," Howard said.

The Red Wings' power play continued to struggle in Game 3, going 0-for-3 with five shots to fall to 0-for-9 with seven shots in the series. They had one shot on goal during a 35-second 5-on-3 in the second period and one during a power play midway through the third period.

Boston's power play is 3-for-8 in the series.

"I thought the power play was a little bit better tonight, but it doesn't really matter if it looks good," Detroit defenseman Danny DeKeyser said. "The purpose of the power play is to score, and right now it's not happening. We'll look at the tape and try to change things again."

Defenseman Kevan Miller and Boston's fourth line combined to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead with 4:12 left in the first period.

Instead of trying to chip the puck in deep, Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith knocked it off the boards, out of the Red Wings zone and into the neutral zone. It only made it as far as the red line, where Bruins center Gregory Campbell gained possession.

As Campbell passed the puck back to Miller, all five Red Wings went off for a line change. Miller found right wing Shawn Thornton alone on the right side for a wide-open drive to the net.

Howard came up with a pad save on Thornton, but Caron dashed down the middle untouched to slam the rebound into the net for his first career playoff point.

Caron and Justin Florek, who scored in Game 2, are in the lineup only because of injuries to Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly. Caron was the Bruins' 13th forward in the regular season and had one goal in 35 games.

"It's great. It's huge," Bergeron said of Caron. "It speaks a lot about our depth, but also the character he's shown all year to stay with it and keep getting better, working hard in practices. He got his chance and now he's taking it, playing well and he scored a big goal for us."

Kronwall blamed himself for the line change that led to Caron's goal, saying, "It's just a bad change by me. I can't go there."

Had he stayed on the ice, Kronwall said he would have been in position to defend Thornton and cancel out the rush altogether.

"They were better than us all night, but we gave them two goals," Babcock said.

Two is typically too many against Rask in the playoffs, especially when the Bruins are hounding and retrieving the puck as well as they did in Game 3.


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