Why the Bruins, Hawks are close to clinching

Why the Bruins, Hawks are close to clinching
June 7, 2013, 3:30 pm
Share This Post

With the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings each staring at elimination in their respective conference finals, here are some notes on both series.

Penguins at Bruins, 8 p.m. tonight NBC Sports Network [Bruins lead 3-0]

Boston Strong: The Bruins have won eight of their last nine games, including four straight. They have outscored their opponents, 32-16, during that stretch, including a 14-3 margin over the last four games.

Up to the task:  Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask ranks first in the playoffs with a .940 save percentage and third with a 1.85 goals-against average. He has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight games.

Shutting the door:  The Bruins have an 18-1 lifetime record when holding a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series. They have closed out 13 of those series in Game 4. Their one loss came three years ago against the Flyers, a series in which they led Game 7 by a 3-0 score and still lost.

Tall order: The Penguins have never overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series (0-4). They haven’t been swept since the Bruins beat them in the 1979 Quarterfinals.
Bounce backability: The Penguins are 5-1 in their last six playoff games following an overtime loss.

History makers: Only three teams in NHL history have come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series: the 1942 Maple Leafs (Stanley Cup Final vs. Red Wings), 1975 Islanders (Quarterfinals vs. Penguins) and 2010 Flyers (Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Bruins).

Baby Pens: Pittsburgh’s AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, came back from a 3-0 series deficit to defeat Boston’s affiliate, the Providence Bruins, in the second round of this year’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

Replacing Soupy: Forward Kaspars Daugavins will replace Gregory Campbell for the Bruins in Game 4 after Cambell broke his leg blocking a shot in Game 3. Daugavins has not played since Game 1 of the playoffs on May 1. He practiced as a left wing on a third line with Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly. Chris Kelly was moved on a fourth line with wingers Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille.

Kings at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. Saturday, NBC [Hawks lead 3-1]

Remembering Hunter: Chicago forward Marian Hossa has scored seven goals this postseason, six of which have given his team the lead. Twenty-two of Hossa’s 43 career playoff goals (51.2%) have been go-ahead scores. That’s the fourth-highest rate in NHL history (40-goal minimum), according to Elias. The top three players in that category are Stephane Richer (54.7%), Dale Hunter (52.4%) and Mike Modano (51.7%).

In a Bickell: Chicago forward Bryan Bickell continued his postseason surge with his eighth goal Thursday night. Bickell’s eight goals are tied for second in the League (with teammate Patrick Sharp), while his 11 points rank third on the Blackhawks. 

Raising Kane: Chicago forward Patrick Kane ended a seven-game goal drought. Since scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in the 2010 Final, Kane has recorded just four goals in 29 playoff games.

Oh Voy: Los Angeles defenseman Slava Voynov has six playoffs goals, which ties him with Jeff Carter and Justin Williams for the team lead. Voynov also paces the Kings with 12 points (tied with Carter), four game-winning goals and a plus-10 rating.

The other guy:  Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford had to make just 19 saves for his 11th victory of the playoffs Thursday. Crawford has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his last eight games, including five straight. He leads the league with a 1.72 goals-against average and ranks third with a .936 save percentage.