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Blackhawks take Game 5, now a win away from Cup

06.22.13 at 10:52 pm ET
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CHICAGO — The Bruins were banged up and pushed to the brink of elimination Saturday night, as the Blackhawks took a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup finals with a 3-1 Game 5 win on an evening in which Patrice Bergeron was taken to the hospital.

Though the Bruins’ first line and top defensive pairings had issues against the Blackhawks’ top line of Jonathan Toews between Patrick Kane (two goals) and Bryan Bickell, it was their second line that gave the biggest reason for concern, as Bergeron played just 49 seconds in the second period due to an injury and was taken out of United Center on an ambulance. Bergeron had left Game 4 briefly, and while there was no explanation given for his departure, his absence in Game 5 suggests he reaggrevated some sort of injury and gave further explanation as to why Claude Julien put Carl Soderberg in the lineup, as he would end up centering for Brad Marchand and Jaromir Jagr on the second line.

The Blackhawks got on the board at 17:27 of the first period when Kane got to a puck that had broken Dennis Seidenberg‘s stick and put it past Tuukka Rask. Kane added to Chicago’s lead when he beat David Krejci and Zdeno Chara to a rebound and buried it for his second goal of the game. Chara brought the Bruins within one a slap shot from the top of the left circle in the third period to break up Corey Crawford‘s shutout, but the B’s were unable to pull even as Dave Bolland scored an empty-netter with 13.6 second left.

Bergeron wasn’t the only player to leave the game, as Toews didn’t play in the third period after receiving a big hit from Johnny Boychuk in the second period.

The Blackhawks will have the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in a four-year span when the teams play Game 6 Monday at TD Garden.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– Bergeron’s injury situation had to play a role in Julien’s decision to play Soderberg. Though he didn’t have the NHL experience, he was simply the team’s only option as a potential center. There’s a domino effect to be seen there with Gregory Campbell being out, as the B’s are thin at center without Bergeron, and their last resort is playing Tyler Seguin in the middle.

After Bergeron went down, the lines were all over the place. The Bruins got a good shift out of a line of Soderberg, Thornton and Lucic in the second period that featured a mad scramble in front, but even in Julien’s most thorough preparations, he couldn’t have anticipated that. Soderberg even saw time on the second line with Marchand and Jagr.

– The B’s caught a bit of bad luck on Kane’s goal, as Johnny Oduya‘s shot from the point broke Dennis Seidenberg‘s stick, with Kane jumping on the loose puck to bury it and give the Blackhawks the lead. Seidenberg had a rough go of it in Game 4, but you can’t really blame the guy for his stick breaking and the puck bouncing the way it did.

– Given that he was on the ice for all three Chicago goals, Chara has now been on the ice for eight of the Blackhawk’s nine goals since the start of Game 4. The Bruins’ captain had been on the ice for just one goal against in the previous seven games. He scored to get the B’s on the board after Julien broke up his pairing with Seidenberg. Boychuk and Seidenberg flip-flopped to begin the third period, so the top two pairings were Chara-Boychuk and Ference-Seidenberg.

– The Bruins held the key to the city of Turnover Town early on, with a number of bad giveaways. The B’s were sloppy with the puck in the early going before hitting their stride about midway through the first.

– The Bruins made a push late in the second period to get on the board, but they thought to pass a little too much. Krejci could have wheeled around and gotten a clean shot on Crawford when he got the puck in the high slot in the final minute of the period, but he sent it back to Chara at the point and nothing came of the sequence.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

– Soderberg looked good in his postseason debut, picking off a pass from Nick Leddy in the neutral zone and getting two shots on goal in one of his first shifts. He also made a nice play to keep the puck in the zone about four minutes into the second period.

It wasn’t all good, as Viktor Stalberg stripped the puck from him in the neutral zone later with relative ease, but Soderberg, who played just six games in the regular season and hadn’t played since April 28, brought a steadier game than Kaspars Daugavins.

– Where did Chara’s slap shot beat Crawford in the third period? Glove side high, of course, marking the ninth time the B’s have scored there this series. The Bruins have scored 13 goals this series, 11 of which have been glove side and nine of which have been high glove side.

Michal Handzus gave the Bruins a bit of a break on a penalty, as his embellishment on a Nathan Horton hook early in the second period negated what would have been a Chicago power play.

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