BOSTON — Home ice agrees with the Boston Bruins, and right now for winger Daniel Paille, it doesn’t matter where he plays.
Boston grabbed hold of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night with a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 at TD Garden, taking a 2-1 series lead with its second straight victory and seventh consecutive home playoff win. It marked the first game of the Finals that ended in regulation.
Paille, who buried the game-winning overtime goal in Boston’s 2-1 Game 2 victory Saturday night in the Windy City, scored the first goal of Game 3, two minutes and 13 seconds into the second period. Then he drew the tripping penalty that led to Patrice Bergeron’s power-play goal just over 14 minutes into the second.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
The Bruins celebrate their 2-1 Stanley Cup lead.
“They have a lot of talent,” Paille said. “That’s why we want to try harder, and I think we’ve been able to frustrate them.”
Tuukka Rask made 28 saves to record his third career playoff shutout, all of which have come in the last seven games. He has made 120 saves on 125 shots faced in the series, though Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville felt his team “made it rather easy” on Rask.
Bruins winger Jaromir Jagr, at 41 years old, had another impressive game, assisting on Bergeron’s tally and playing strong on the puck. He still has no goals in 19 playoff games with Boston, but Jagr poked fun at himself when asked how it felt to smother the Blackhawks.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford throws his stick in vain as Patrice Bergeron (l.) buries the puck in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
“For me, they shut me down in every game, so I know how they feel,” Jagr said.
Game 4 is Wednesday night back at TD Garden, where the Bruins are 8-2 in the playoffs. They are two wins away from their second Cup in three seasons, having beaten Vancouver in 2011.
Chicago unexpectedly was forced to play without veteran top-line winger Marian Hossa, who is tied for the team lead with 15 points in the playoffs and is playing in his fourth Stanley Cup Finals. Hossa is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. His replacement was Ben Smith, who had not played yet in these playoffs, and Viktor Stalberg also replaced healthy scratch Brandon Bollig, whose turnover led to Paille’s winner in Game 2. But the new guys didn’t produce.
Strangely enough, in the pregame skate, Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara collided with forward Milan Lucic and both men fell to the ice. Chara went to the locker room, where he required stitches above his left eye.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Tuukka Rask is unreal again stopping all 28 shots he faces.
Paille, 29, originally Buffalo’s 20th overall selection in the first round of the 2002 draft, was dumped to the Bruins for a third-round pick early in the 2009-10 season. Despite being a high draft pick, he humbly has learned to accept a bottom-six forward role and has excelled, already having captured the 2011 Cup with three goals and six points in 25 games.
This season, Paille has four goals and eight points in 19 playoff games. Normally a fourth-liner, he played on the third line Monday alongside Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin, and he spent 2:18 of ice time on the penalty kill, where the Bruins now have killed off 26 straight power plays.
The last power-play goal Boston surrendered was scored by Dan Girardi in Boston’s Game 5 series-clinching victory over the Rangers. Girardi and Paille are both from Welland, Ontario, and are good friends. Paille said Girardi texted him on Sunday to congratulate him on Saturday’s OT game winner.
“He texted me yesterday and said I’m playing great,” Paille said. “I know he’d rather be playing right now, but he’s happy for me and the way I’m playing now.”