Like we have seen so many times before this season, the Chicago Blackhawks played well at times, but they could not maintain for a full 60 minutes in a 7-4 loss at the Boston Bruins.
The Blackhawks got off to a great start with three high quality scoring chances in the first four minutes of the game by Alex DeBrincat, Matthew Highmore and Patrick Sharp, but goaltender Tuukka Rask denied them all.
Things got interesting midway through the first period when Brad Marchand found himself in yet another controversial situation. Marchand looked as if he was avoiding a collision with Anthony Duclair, but jumped and clotheslined the Blackhawks forward which caused his right leg to bend in a way it is not supposed to.
Anthony Duclair suffers knee injury after collision with Brad Marchand pic.twitter.com/Z3LdZaG6Qq
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 10, 2018
Duclair needed to be helped off the ice and Marchand was given a minor penalty for interference. Things got worse as the Blackhawks gave up a shorthanded goal on the ensuing power play. Duncan Keith turned the puck over at the blue line which led to a Sean Kuraly breakaway. J-F Berube made the stop on Kurarly, but Noel Acciari beat three Blackhawks to the rebound and fired it in to the open net. Joel Quenneville challenged for goaltender interference, but the play was upheld.
The Bruins started a crazy sequence with a power play goal at 14:10 to double their lead. David Krejci was left wide open in front of the net with both Keith and Brent Seabrook below the goal line and tapped home a pass from rookie Jake DeBrusk.
The Blackhawks answered with their first goal just 17 seconds later, but it wasn’t Dave Bolland doing the honors. Jonathan Toews got to the front of the net and redirected an Erik Gustafsson shot from the point in behind Rask. Patrick Kane was credited with the secondary assist on the captain’s 19th goal of the season.
Gustafsson fired a one-time off a pass from Nick Schmaltz from nearly the same spot of the ice that got through a John Hayden screen and tied the game just 29 seconds later. Debrincat picked up the secondary assist on Gustafsson’s third goal of the season and second since signing a contract extension on Tuesday.
Hayden gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead 6:37 into the second period. The play was started by David Kampf forcing a turnover in the neutral zone leading to a 2-on-1 rush where Hayden looked off the pass to Sharp and beat Rask for his fourth goal of the year and fifth of his career.
DeBrusk and Krejci struck again for another power play goal less than four minutes later to tie the game. This time the youngster made a backhand pass by a sliding Seabrook to a wide open Krejci for his second easy goal of the afternoon.
Highmore racked up his first career NHL goal at 15:46 of the second period to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead. Gustafsson picked up his third point of the game by making a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Highmore at the right dot where he flung a wrist shot through a Tomas Jurco screen and into the Bruins net.
The Blackhawks could not make the rookie’s goal hold up as they collapsed in the third period. David Patrnak tied the game at the 6:23 mark by skating right by Gustaffson to get to a rebound from a Marchand shot and stuff it past Berube.
Seconds after the game tying goal, Patrick Kane was sent off for four minutes after drawing blood on Kuraly with a high stick to the mouth. The Bruins would score on both penalties to take control of the game. Brian Gionta got the go-ahead goal by swiping a rebound into a wide-open net and Rick Nash scored the insurance goal by redirecting a Torey Krug shot into the Blackhawks net.
Kuraly finished off the scoring with an empty net goal in the final minute of the game.
These two teams will have a quick turnaround as they meet again at the United Center tomorrow with a 11:30 am puck drop. We could see a chippy affair which would favor the Bruins since they have a greater physical presence than the Blackhawks do these days.