By Sarah Kwak
BOSTON — One team was guaranteed to be working itself out of a hole after Game 3. That it’s Chicago has more than a little to do with the face-off totals in Boston’s 2-0 win at TD Garden on Monday night. The Blackhawks, who ranked No. 11 in the league with a 50.8 percent win rate during the regular season, let the top-ranked Bruins own the dots. Boston won 40 of the 56 total draws, an absurd 71 percent.
Center Patrice Bergeron, the 2012 Selke Trophy winner and this year’s runner-up, led the way for Boston by going 24-for-28, including 9-for-10 in the offensive zone. When a team like the Blackhawks relies largely on a puck-possession game, face-offs become critical, especially when it’s struggling to generate offense. Starting most plays without the puck has been an added hindrance against Boston’s stifling defense. In offensive zone draws, the Blackhawks were a dismal 6-for-23, allowing the Bruins to regularly take control and turn play the other way. Chicago’s power play, which has sputtered along at 11.3 percent for the playoffs and 0-for-11 against the Bruins, has also suffered from an inability to win draws.
“It’s tough to get a clean entry,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville explained on Tuesday. “I think we might have to get a little indirect plays to get possession on our entries. It starts with losing the draw initially. That’s the area we have to get better. Hopefully you don’t have to resort to the entry. We’re still going to have to find a way to get through it and find ways to have possession … I think we’re looking at ways that we can at least get it closer to a 50/50 chance for us on most draws.”