Patrick Kane scored twice, the second proving to be enough for Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks to come away with a huge victory on Saturday night.
But the story of Game Five will be more about who was missing from the ice in the game’s final 20 minutes than the 3-1 final score.
For Boston, Patrice Bergeron skated only two brief shifts in the second period and did not return. The Bruins’ official Twitter account posted the following:
To that point in the game, Bergeron had skated only 6:06 (11 shifts) and had won only four of nine faceoffs. He has been the best player-not-named-Tuukka Rask in the postseason for Boston, and had been overwhelming at the dot in the first four games of the series.
Bergeron wasn’t the only significant player missing from the third period. Just over 11 minutes into the second, Johnny Boychuk hammered Jonathan Toews in front of the Bruins’ net.
Toews did not skate a shift in the third period.
To that point, Toews was having a dominant game. He had an assist on both of Kane’s goals and had won nine of 12 faceoffs. He was also credited with one blocked shot, one hit and one takeaway, but was limited to under 13 minutes of ice time in the game.
After the game, coach Joel Quenneville said he’s hopeful Toews can play in Game 6, adding only that the Hawks’ captain is dealing with an “upper-body injury.”
The loss of each team’s best center, and the top two players in the voting for the 2013 Selke Trophy, could prove to be an enormous impact as the series heads back to Boston for Game Six on Monday night.
But beyond the two significant injuries, the Blackhawks had a strong game from players all over the roster.
Bryan Bickell showed up and was a physical force on the ice again (finally). He was credited with team-high six hits to go with an assist, one blocked shot and two takeaways. He introduced himself to Zdeno Chara on a number of occasions, and was the power forward the Hawks needed on their top line.
The defensive pressure from the entire Blackhawks roster was phenomenal the entire evening; 13 different Hawks were credited with at least one takeaway in the game, five of whom had more than one in the contest.
Chicago’s fourth line made a huge impact on the game defensively. Dave Bolland scored an empty-net goal to close the book on Game Five, and won six of 10 faceoffs in the game. He was also credited with two hits and two takeaways, and his work with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik was noticeable throughout the game.
Kruger and Frolik were able to skate an entire night of only even-strength ice time; Chicago wasn’t short-handed in the game. Frolik was credited with a game-high four takeaways and had a nice scoring chance off a give-and-go with Bolland in the third. Kruger was credited with only one takeaway, but played another strong defensive game.
With Toews out, Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw saw increased time in the faceoff circle. Handzus won 11 of 18 draws and was also credited with two blocked shots and two takeaways. Shaw bumped up to the Hawks’ top line with Kane and Bickell with Toews missing and won four of his eight faceoffs in the game and continued to bother the Bruins all over the ice.
Kane’s two goals give him three in the last two games and nine total in the postseason. He was credited with a team-high six shots on net in the game, and another three missed the mark. His 19 points in the postseason are now tied for second behind only David Krejci (25) of Boston, and his nine goals are also tied for second behind only Patrick Sharp (10).
For Crawford, his ugly win in Game Four was followed by a strong performance at home. He allowed only one goal, a missile off the stick of Chara, against 25 Boston shots to earn the victory.
Meanwhile, Rask faced 31 shots and allowed two goals before departing in the game’s final minutes.
Game Six is Monday night.