Score Strip

  1. League: NHL
  2. Pittsburgh vs. Columbus
    7:00 PM
    1 PIT
    4 CLS
  3. Anaheim vs. Dallas
    8:00 PM
    1 ANH
    4 DAL
  4. St. Louis vs. Chicago
    9:30 PM
    2 STL
    3 CHI
  5. View All

Stanley Cup Final: Bruins at their mighty best in Game 3 shutdown of Blackhawks

Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Yahoo Sports

BOSTON — After every victory, the Boston Bruins award a U.S. Army Ranger jacket to their player of the game. He receives it from the last man to earn it. The jacket fits whoever wears it in the dressing room for two reasons: One, it honors the military motto “Rangers lead the way.” Two, it is camouflage.

View gallery

.

The Bruins defensemen didn't give the Blackhawks forwards much room to move. (AP)

On this team, the leaders blend in.

Who got the jacket Monday night after the Bruins dominated the Chicago Blackhawks in a 2-0 victory, taking a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup Final?

Goaltender Tuukka Rask, who made 28 saves and recorded his third shutout of the playoffs? Captain Zdeno Chara, who collided with teammate Milan Lucic in warmups, took stitches to close a cut in his head before the puck dropped and played his usual shutdown defense? Center Patrice Bergeron, who scored on the power play, won 24 of 28 faceoffs and played his usual shutdown defense? Daniel Paille, the grinder who scored for the second straight game?

None of the above. Chris Kelly, the veteran whose first-intermission words and second-period goal woke up the Bruins in Game 2, gave the jacket to …

Dennis Seidenberg.

Why?

Seidenberg didn’t record a point. He wasn’t even on the ice for a goal. But on a night when the Bruins didn’t allow the Blackhawks room to breathe, let alone score, the veteran defenseman played more than 25 minutes against top players, blocked a game-high six shots and tied for a game-high four hits. That’s why.

“That’s my job,” Seidenberg said. “I haven’t really been scoring, doing anything offensively. I better do that stuff. It’s fun. I enjoy playing tough minutes and doing the little things, just like everybody else in this room. We all thrive in tough games.”

[Related: The great Marian Hossa Game 3 injury mystery]

The Bruins are thriving now. Starting with their epic comeback in Game 7 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs – rallying from a 4-1 third-period deficit, winning in overtime, cheating death – they have not lost in regulation. They have gone 11-2 with their only two losses coming in OT.

In the Eastern Conference final, they faced the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, who had the top offense in the NHL in the regular season. They allowed only two goals in four games. They allowed Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla, James Neal and Kris Letang no points. None.

Here in the Stanley Cup Final, they face the star-studded Blackhawks, who had the second-best offense in the NHL in the regular season. They allowed four goals in a 4-3 triple-overtime loss in Game 1. They allowed a goal early in Game 2 when badly outplayed in the first period. But since? They haven’t allowed a goal in 122 minutes and 26 seconds – the equivalent of more than two regulation games.

They have killed 27 straight power plays, too, going back to the second round.

“We’re playing the best hockey of the season right now,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “That’s what you’ve got to do to give yourself a chance to win a Stanley Cup.”

View gallery

.

Team captain and defensive lynchpin Zdeno Chara is the main cog in the Bruins' machine. (Reuters)

The Bruins do not always play their best. We saw it down the stretch, when they seemed worn out by a jam-packed schedule. We saw it in the first round, when they blew a 3-1 series lead against the Leafs. We saw it in the first period of Game 2 in this series. At times, Julien has called them “Jekyll and Hyde.”

But at their best, they are a machine – a meat grinder. Especially on a night like this, when the ice was so bad Seidenberg compared it to sandpaper, they make it rough.

When the Blackhawks lost star scorer Marian Hossa to an upper-body injury right before the game, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville scrambled. He tried all kinds of combinations. He had his best players on three separate lines at one point. He finally tried Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together behind by two in the third.

What could he do? Split them up, and someone would run into Chara, a winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman, and someone else would run into Bergeron, a winner of the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward. Put them together, and they might run into Chara and Bergeron both.

“I was as surprised as anybody else,” said Julien of Hossa’s absence. “But to be honest with you, there wasn’t any changes in our game. … We don’t make our game plan based on an individual.”

They don’t make it based on an individual on their team, either. They don’t just have Rask or Chara or Bergeron. They have a deep, balanced, disciplined, committed group. Center David Krejci is the playoffs’ leading scorer with 23 points, but he said: “I’m going into every game with the mindset to play good defensively.”

Julien can roll four lines – or three now, because he’s missing key fourth-liner Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg blocking a shot against the Penguins, got back to his feet, kept fighting and finished his shift. He has everyone playing his system. The Bruins come back hard defensively. They support each other. They box out. Try to find a passing or shooting lane, and a stick or body is often in the way. Try to get to the net, good luck.

[Watch: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask bleeps it up during TV interview]

As good as Rask has been – and he has been good enough so far to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs’ most valuable player, like Tim Thomas did in the Boston net in 2011 – his teammates have put him in position to succeed. They keep lots of shots to the outside. They keep his vision clear. Rask doesn’t allow many rebounds, absorbing pucks into his body or directing them away, but when he does, there often isn’t an opponent able to cash in. Somebody clears the puck. Crisis averted.

“They’re backchecking, having layers, so when somebody makes a mistake, you have somebody covering up,” Julien said. “We’re blocking a lot of shots. The commitment is totally there. Throughout a whole season, it’s not easy to have that full commitment. But I think when you get to this stage, players start feeling it. They go above and beyond. That’s what you’re seeing from our team right now.”

You’re even seeing it from Tyler Seguin, the 21-year-old who was drafted second overall in 2010 and has been known as a soft, offensive player. Though he hasn’t been producing much offensively, he has been skating and driving deep in the Boston zone, trying to do his part.

You’re even seeing it from Jaromir Jagr, the 41-year-old who made his legend winning MVP awards and scoring titles. Though he doesn’t have a goal in these playoffs, he has shown creativity with the puck – he set up Bergeron’s power-play goal Monday night – and won battles along the wall. Despite his natural tendencies, despite his personal frustration, he has bought in.

“I like to make plays all the time, don’t dump it in, sometimes not make the safe play,” Jagr said. “I’m used to making plays all the time. So guys here, they always make the safe plays. They’re always good on the defensive side of the game. These are the things I have to get used to.”

It’s easy to get used to winning.

Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
Paille, Bergeron lead Bruins over Blackhawks to take 2-1 series lead in Cup final
Photo gallery: Stanley Cup Final action on and off the ice
What We Learned: The problem with the NHL Awards? The voters
San Jose Sharks' Logan Couture isn't going anywhere

View Comments
  • Suns' Dragic voted league's most improved player

    Suns' Dragic voted league's most improved player

    (Reuters) - Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, whose breakout campaign helped his team to a 23-win improvement, was named the National Basketball Association's most improved player, the league said on Wednesday. Dragic received 408 of a possible … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • NBA-Suns' Dragic voted league's most improved player

    Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, whose breakout campaign helped his team to a 23-win improvement, was named the National Basketball Association's most improved player, the league said on Wednesday. Dragic received 408 of a possible 1,134 points, … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • FIFA advisers urge support for Garcia probe to resolve allegations about Qatar World Cup bid

    FIFA advisers urge support for Garcia probe to resolve allegations about Qatar World Cup bid

    GENEVA - FIFA's reputation depends on resolving allegations about Qatar's selection as the 2022 World Cup host, according to the governing body's anti-corruption advisers. The expert panel chaired by Swiss law professor Mark Pieth gave its full … More »

    The Canadian Press - 12 minutes ago
  • Robert Griffin III will drive the pace car at Richmond thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s tweet

    Robert Griffin III will drive the pace car at Richmond thanks to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s tweet

    When you're Dale Jr. and RGIII, you can make things happen in a hurry. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 13 minutes ago
  • 4 WNBA teams to play 2-game preseason tourney

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Four WNBA teams will take part in a preseason tournament in Orlando over Mother's Day weekend. … More »

    AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago
  • Suns' Dragic honored as NBA's Most Improved Player

    Suns' Dragic honored as NBA's Most Improved Player

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Goran Dragic has been honored as the NBA's Most Improved Player after his career year helped lead the Suns to 23 more wins this season. … More »

    AP - Sports - 15 minutes ago
  • Grey Cup-champion Roughriders lone CFL team to exceed $4.4-million salary cap

    TORONTO - The Grey Cup-champion Saskatchewan Roughriders were the only team to surpass the CFL's 4.4-million salary cap in 2013, the league announced Wednesday. According to the CFL, the Roughriders' spent $4,417,975 in salaries last year. As per … More »

    The Canadian Press - 18 minutes ago
  • Manziel, Clowney to be among 30 at draft

    Manziel, Clowney to be among 30 at draft

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL says 30 top prospects, including Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, will attend the draft next month in New York. … More »

    AP - Sports - 21 minutes ago
  • Nadal wins, Ferrer loses in Barcelona

    Nadal wins, Ferrer loses in Barcelona

    Second-seeded David Ferrer was ousted from the Barcelona Open by a Russian opponent for the second straight year and defending champion Rafael Nadal labored to victory on Wednesday. Ferrer was unable to find his rhythm in losing 6-4, 6-2 to … More »

    AP - Sports - 22 minutes ago
  • Calder Trophy Finalists: Nathan MacKinnon vs. Tyler Johnson vs. Ondrej Palat

    Calder Trophy Finalists: Nathan MacKinnon vs. Tyler Johnson vs. Ondrej Palat

    Forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche are the three finalists for the 2013-14 Calder Memorial Trophy, which is awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his … More »

    Puck Daddy - 23 minutes ago
  • Cards LB Washington gets 1 yr. probation

    PHOENIX (AP) -- A judge in Phoenix has sentenced Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington to a year of supervised probation for assaulting a former girlfriend who is the mother of his daughter. … More »

    AP - Sports - 27 minutes ago
  • Another gut-check for the Blues, another determined defending champion standing in the way of the Stanley Cup

    Another gut-check for the Blues, another determined defending champion standing in the way of the Stanley Cup

    The St. Louis Blues have been down this road before, with an early series lead on a defending Stanley Cup champion. This time, the Blues believe they're ready to knock off the Chicago Blackhawks and take a run at the Cup themselves. … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 37 minutes ago
  • Ethiopia appoint Portugal's Barreto as coach

    Ethiopia appoint Portugal's Barreto as coach

    By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia have named Portugal's Mariano Barreto as coach, the head of the Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) said on Wednesday. Barreto, a former Ghana coach and assistant manager of Dynamo Moscow, was given … More »

    Reuters - 42 minutes ago
  • Peng, Peer reach Morocco quarterfinals

    MARRAKESH, Morocco (AP) -- Peng Shuai of China beat Ukrainian qualifier Maryna Zanevska 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix SAR. … More »

    AP - Sports - 48 minutes ago
  • Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue

    Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue

    Violence erupted late Tuesday in a main tourist area of Rio de Janeiro following the killing of a popular local figure near where 2016 Olympic swimming events are expected to take place. (April 23) … More »

    AP Canada Videos - 54 minutes ago
  • Europe split by financial iron curtain, says Champagne

    Europe split by financial iron curtain, says Champagne

    By Brian Homewood BERNE (Reuters) - European football is more divided today than it was during the Cold War because of the unequal distribution of wealth among its clubs, FIFA presidential candidate Jerome Champagne said. "During the Cold War, … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 3 minutes ago
  • Lightning teammates, MacKinnon named finalists for Calder Trophy as top rookie

    Lightning teammates, MacKinnon named finalists for Calder Trophy as top rookie

    NEW YORK, - The Calder Trophy voting for the NHL's top rookie will have a Tampa Bay Lightning flavour to it. Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat were named as finalists for the trophy along with Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado … More »

    The Canadian Press - 1 hour 12 minutes ago
  • Regina Pats’ sale imminent, Battalion shoot for sweep: the coast-to-coast

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ... WHL Edmonton will need a "short memory" about its Game 3 loss, where it outshot the Medicine Hat Tigers 44-21. (Edmonton Sun, Medicine Hat News) … Continue … More »

    Buzzing The Net - 1 hour 13 minutes ago
  • Valverde wins Walloon Arrow Classic for 2nd time

    Valverde wins Walloon Arrow Classic for 2nd time

    Alejandro Valverde of Spain timed his climb on the closing Wall of Huy to perfection to win the Walloon Arrow classic ahead of Daniel Martin of Ireland and Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland on Wednesday. Pre-race favorite Philippe Gilbert, who won the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 35 minutes ago
  • Rosol beats Nieminen to reach quarters

    BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Defending champion Lukas Rosol reached the Nastase Tiriac Trophy quarterfinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over eighth-seeded Jarkko Nieminen of Finland on Wednesday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 37 minutes ago
  • Ron MacLean makes awkward apology after French-Canadian ref conspiracy theory

    Ron MacLean makes awkward apology after French-Canadian ref conspiracy theory

    Again, for the record: MacLean was worried about the perception of assigning a French-Canadian referee for the game immediately following one in which a French-Canadian referee made a controversial call. He’s TOTALLY cool with a French-Canadian … More »

    Puck Daddy - 1 hour 40 minutes ago
  • Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona

    Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona

    By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA (Reuters) - Four-time finalist David Ferrer crashed out in the second round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday, producing a rusty performance to lose 6-4 6-2 to Georgia's Teymuraz Gabashvili. The world number five, who beat … More »

    Reuters - 1 hour 48 minutes ago
  • Jefferson in walking boot, plans to play

    Jefferson in walking boot, plans to play

    Al Jefferson was still in his walking boot when the Charlotte Bobcats arrived for their shootaround hours before facing the Miami Heat in Game 2 of an Eastern Conference first-round series. Bobcats coach Steve Clifford says the team was planning to … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 48 minutes ago
  • Bulls suffer blow as Van der Merwe picks up ban

    Bulls suffer blow as Van der Merwe picks up ban

    Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe was suspended for three weeks on Wednesday after being found guilty of striking Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan, further deepening the crisis the South African franchise is facing among its second rowers. The Springbok … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 14 minutes ago
  • Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater raising concern over basic skills

    Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater raising concern over basic skills

    What are the yellow and red flags over QB prospects Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles? It comes down to delivering the football. … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 2 hours 18 minutes ago
  • Yamanaka defends WBC bantamweight title with TKO

    Yamanaka defends WBC bantamweight title with TKO

    Shinsuke Yamanaka of Japan successfully defended his WBC bantamweight crown for the sixth time with a technical knockout of Stephane Jamoye of Belgium on Wednesday. Yamanaka sent Jamoye to the canvas with a powerful blow to the abdomen and the … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 24 minutes ago
  • Tennis-Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona

    By Tim Hanlon BARCELONA, April 23 (Reuters) - Four-time finalist David Ferrer crashed out in the second round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday, producing a rusty performance to lose 6-4 6-2 to Georgia's Teymuraz Gabashvili. The world number … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 29 minutes ago
  • Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

    The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation fees from ICC and Asian Cricket Council (ACC) events. The players had demanded 20 percent of … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 35 minutes ago
  • Singaporean fixer arrested in Helsinki

    Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, convicted in 2011 for fixing football matches, has been arrested in Helsinki, according to Finland's National Bureau of Investigation. "Wilson Raj Perumal was arrested last week in Helsinki, and we are studying the … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 37 minutes ago
  • A's reject 10-year stadium lease offer

    A's reject 10-year stadium lease offer

    The Oakland A's have rejected a deal to play at its ballpark for the foreseeable future, saying the 10-year lease extension offer doesn't meet all their requirements. The Oakland Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1notDIE ) the team's rejection came … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 41 minutes ago
  • Jimmy Fallon presents NHL Playoff Awards, basically ruins Matt Niskanen for us

    Jimmy Fallon presents NHL Playoff Awards, basically ruins Matt Niskanen for us

    Last May, Fallon attempted an “NHL Awards” bit on his late night show and basically tripped over the pronunciation of every name. And while we’re still not sure how a guy who nails the Boston sports stereotype like Fallon has in the past … More »

    Puck Daddy - 2 hours 41 minutes ago
  • Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity

    Sacked Manchester United manager David Moyes thanked his predecessor Alex Ferguson on Wednesday for having given him the opportunity to lead the Premier League club. In a statement issued through the League Manager's Association (LMA), the Scot … More »

    Reuters - 2 hours 45 minutes ago
  • Popovich wins NBA Coach of Year award

    Popovich wins NBA Coach of Year award

    The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. Gregg … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 45 minutes ago
  • Pujols becomes 26th to reach 500 homers

    Pujols becomes 26th to reach 500 homers

    Albert Pujols smiled as he explained why he felt the need to apologize to his wife for hitting homer No. 500 so quickly after No. 499. Pujols became the first major leaguer to get his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, connecting twice … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 48 minutes ago
  • Course changes to Hoylake for British

    Course changes to Hoylake for British

    There will be a horseshoe grandstand around the 18th green for the first time at a British Open as part of a number of course changes for this year's tournament at Hoylake. Organizers say the Royal Liverpool course will be extended by 54 yards … More »

    AP - Sports - 2 hours 48 minutes ago
  • Bills cheerleaders file suit against team over pay, harassment

    Bills cheerleaders file suit against team over pay, harassment

    The Buffalo Jills are not happy with their working conditions. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 2 hours 49 minutes ago
  • Why Wrigley Field's 100th birthday feels a bit empty on the North Side

    Why Wrigley Field's 100th birthday feels a bit empty on the North Side

    The Chicago Cubs are advertising the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field’s opening as the “Party of the Century” and that would be all well and good if the label didn’t sound so familiar. … More »

    Big League Stew - 2 hours 56 minutes ago
  • Cyclist Rogers cleared to race after doping case

    Former world time trial champion Michael Rogers can race again after cycling's governing body accepted that meat he ate in China likely caused his positive doping test. Rogers, an Olympic bronze medalist, helped persuade the International Cycling … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 hours ago
  • 15 unusual facts that make Wrigley Field one of a kind

    15 unusual facts that make Wrigley Field one of a kind

    Wrigley Field is celebrating its 100th birthday. In one hundred years, you can imagine the stories this stadium has to tell. We’ve tracked down 15 interesting facts that will give you a deeper appreciation for this venue and its prolific history.

    More »

    3 hours ago
  • World Cup rush leaves gaps in Brazil cell network

    Brazil had trounced the Spanish world champions. The final of the 2013 Confederations Cup, a dress rehearsal for this year's World Cup, was a promising 3-0 victory for Brazil's national team but a bad omen for its cellphone network. Despite costly … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago