Blackhawks’ penalty-killers contain Bruins
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org June 24, 2013 11:51PM
Updated: June 25, 2013 1:32AM
BOSTON — After a brief lull earlier in the Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks’ penalty-killers were back on top of their game Monday to thwart an early Bruins flurry and prevent Game 6 from getting out of hand.
In desperation mode in an elimination game, the Bruins were on the attack early in Game 6. And the Hawks played into their hands by taking four penalties in a 15-minute span covering the first two periods.
Michael Frolik knew what was coming. ‘‘We expect their best effort and most physical game,’’ he said after the Hawks’ morning skate at TD Garden. ‘‘[The Bruins] have to do anything they can to do something, and we have to be ready for it and just play our game and be disciplined and don’t take stupid penalties. It’s going to be key. We have to be ready for the challenge.’’
With the Hawks’ top penalty group of forwards Frolik and Marcus Kruger and defensemen Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson carrying most of the load, the Hawks killed all four penalties. They seemed to get better as they went along. Jonathan Toews’ tying goal with 15:36 left in the second period was virtually shorthanded — Toews fired a wrist shot past Tuukka Rask just as Andrew Shaw’s penalty for roughing ended.
But it took awhile for the penalty-killers to get their feet on the ground. The Bruins’ first power play was their best. After Johnny Oduya was called for hooking with 9:20 left in the first period, the Bruins attempted eight shots on goal, with two prime opportunities. Blocked shots by Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook and Keith helped quell that rally.
The Bruins were back on the power play after Michal Rozsival was called for high-sticking with 1:35 left in the first period. With Frolik’s aggressiveness particularly effective, the Hawks limited the Bruins to one shot on goal — a point-blank slap shot by Rich Peverley that goalie Corey Crawford easily handled.
The Hawks escaped the first period trailing 1-0 — the Bruins attempted 25 shots to only seven for the Hawks. They gained control of most of the play in the second period, but two more penalties gave the Bruins opportunities.
Shaw was called for roughing Tyler Seguin with 17:36 left in the period. The Hawks not only killed that penalty but ended up tying the game when Toews scored. Seabrook was called for tripping — a bit of a cheapie — with 14:48 left in the period to give the Bruins another chance. But, again, the Hawks did the job — aided by blocked shots from Frolik and Oduya.
The Hawks entered the game in a relative penalty-killing slump. They were 55-for-58 (.948) on the penalty kill in the first three series against the Wild (17-for-17), Red Wings (24-for-25) and Kings (14-for-16). But coming into Game 6, they had allowed four power-play goals and were 10-for-14 (.714) for the series.