It's been a long time coming for the Bruins at Joe Louis Arena.
|Caron scores his first-career postseason goal in the 3-0 win over the Wings (via ESPN.com)|
March 11, 2007, to be exact.
But now that stat can be thrown off to the side, as the Bruins shutout the Wings 3-0 in Game 3 of their Divisional Semifinals matchup to go ahead 2 games to 1 in the series.
Doug Hamilton, Jordan Caron and Patrice Bergeron scored the goals for the Bruins, with Hamilton's coming on the powerplay and Bergeron icing the game with the empty-netter.
Tuukka Rask turned aside 23 shots to pick up his first shutout of the 2014 playoffs and the fourth in his postseason career.
Game 4 will be played on Thursday at 8:00.
|Rask continued his impressive play in the series by turning aside all 23 shots faced (via ESPN.com)|
The story of this game can be summed in one word: domination. From the crease on out, the Bruins controlled the tempo of Game 3 as best as you can hope for in a road playoff game. As was the case in Game 2, the Bruins came right out of the gate ready to play. With the effort given in the last two games, it feels like the disappointment of Game 1 back on Friday is a million miles behind them.
The Bruins controlled the first period from start to finish, as they outshot the Wings 11-4 and didn't allow a single scoring chance. Boston scored twice, once through Doug Hamilton and again through Jordan Caron.
On the powerplay due to a Red Wings' too many men penalty, Dougie Hamilton gave the Bruins all they would need to the night, scoring his first-career playoff goal at 9:00 of the period. It was an incredible individual play from Hamilton, as he carried the puck through the neutral zone and past the Red Wings' defense to rip the puck past Howard's shoulder.
Jordan Caron doubled the lead at 15:48, pouncing on a loose puck in just beyond the crease that Howard couldn't control after Shawn Thornton's initial shot. A bad line change from the Red Wings left Thornton to swing back and bring the puck into the zone 1-on-1, with Jordan Caron streaking off the bench to fill the void on the other side of the ice. Thornton's shot rebounded right to Caron and he put it home past Howard to put the Bruins up 2-0.
The Bruins put on a clinic in the first period, crushing the Wings in every facet of the game en route to putting the two goals on the board and practically winning the game in the first 20 minutes of play. On the defensive end, the Bruins played their game flawlessly, as they closed down on bodies in space, shut down passing lanes, took away scoring chances, and blocked 13 shots in total.
|Clear the lane: Hamilton and the rest of the Bruins shutdown the Wings for 60 minutes (via ESPN.com)|
On the offensive side of things, the B's were more of the same, as they established their cycle game in the Wings' zone, something that was non-existent in Game 1, but has come back big for them in the last two, made clean breakouts from their own zone, got plenty of shots on net, established a net-front presence and most important of all, capitalized on their scoring chances.
The second period didn't see a goal scored, and that fit the Bruins just fine playing on the road. The Bruins and Wings matched each other with 12 shots on goal each, but the Wings could not punch through the defense or Tuukka Rask. The structure of the B's held up and kept 11 of the 12 shots from the faceoff circles on out. The only shot up the middle of the ice came from Gustav Nyquist in close to the net with four minutes to go in the period.
In one instance of note from the period, Brad Marchand got tripped up by Brendan Smith early in the action, which left Marchand crumpled on the ice for a minute and in need of assistance when heading back to the bench. In real-time it looked like Smith caught Marchand with a knee-on-knee hit, but the replay showed Marchand grabbing his right knee after Smith clipped him on the left leg. Marchand sold the call, and I mean really sold the call. The play will serve as plenty of ammunition for the Marchand haters out in the NHL circles.
Bergeron's empty-netter at 18:01 of the period iced the game for Boston.
|Bergeron, Chara and Smith celebrate PB37's empty-net goal (via ESPN.com|
After getting outplayed and outworked in Game 1 of the series and losing 1-0, the Bruins have rebounded tremendously since then, scoring 7 goals while only conceding 1, and they now find themselves ahead in the series.
Special teams has played a huge part in the last two games, as Boston has cashed in on the man-advantage three times, twice on Sunday and once again in Game 3. After being an albatross and an afterthought for years, the powerplay has finally become an actual weapon to use for the Black and Gold, and one that has to be feared by opponents.
The penalty kills are even better, as the Bruins have killed off all nine of Detroit's powerplay's this series, including 35 seconds of a five-on-three in the second period tonight.
At the end of the night, the Bruins are ahead in the series and are one step closer to advancing in the playoffs.
That being said the Wings know they cannot go down 3-1 in the series and hope to have any chance of coming back against the NHL's top-team.
Detroit will play Thursday's Game 4 like a Game 7, so the Bruins have to be ready to take the Wings' best effort in what could be their last game at Joe Louis Arena this season.
Puck drop is just after 8:00 pm.