NBC Sports hockey analyst Pierre McGuire checked in with Mut & Merloni on Tuesday to dissect the Bruins’ 2-0 victory in Monday’s Game 3.
The B’s frustrated the Blackhawks by limiting Chicago’s scoring opportunities.
“First of all, [the Bruins] were really doing a good job controlling the puck and controlling the neutral zone and dictating the terms of the game, that’s No. 1 and 2,” McGuire said. “I think the third thing they did, obviously, is they were able to get last change, so they had the matchups they wanted. Not having Marian Hossa in the lineup for Chicago really hurt them in terms of manufacturing offense. … That’s a big loss for Chicago; that’s not Boston’s fault.
“And then for both teams, the ice conditions. Tuukka Rask alluded to it when I interviewed him, and Dennis Seidenberg and I talked about it after the game. The ice conditions were not good. I could tell in the morning they weren’t going to be good because of the humidity in the city of Boston yesterday. There’s not a building in the league that would have had good ice yesterday, just because of the humidity. You’ve got to hope it cools off.
“But Boston’s doing exactly what they did to Pittsburgh: They’re killing the stars. Look at the hits on Jonathan Toews. They’re just crushing him. Hey, that’s all fair game in hockey. That’s part of the sport.”
McGuire also praised the Bruins defense and noted: “You add in the Patrice Bergeron factor and the faceoff-winning factor for the Bruins, and they’re a very, very difficult team to play against.”
McGuire noted that the Blackhawks’ comeback in Game 1 might have come at a cost.
“The one thing I’ll you that I don’t think is getting talked about enough: The wear and tear of Game 1, the three overtimes, I think it took a lot more out of Chicago, even though they won, compared to what it took out of Boston. I really do,” he said.
Hossa’s injury remains a mystery, as he left the pregame skate and was replaced in the lineup by Ben Smith, who did not go through warmups.
“It’s bizarre,” McGuire said. “We went and scanned the tape. He takes a shot. After he takes a shot, he goes off the ice. He participated in the line rushes, he participated in the two-on-ones. He didn’t look like he was hurt. Chicago put out a press release saying that he got injured in the warmup, and then they say that he didn’t get injured in the warmup, and they knew earlier in the day there was a possibility that he wouldn’t play.
“Not having Ben Smith at least on the ice for the skate, that’s a little bit bizarre — really different. So, again, I don’t know what happened. … Injuries this time of year, nobody talks about them very much, and if they do, they usually don’t tell you the truth.”
The Bruins’ new-look third line of Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin has come up big in the last two games.
“There are very few teams in the league that have that kind of speed on one line. All three guys can absolutely burn you,” McGuire said. “Seguin is putting so much pressure on the Chicago defense, it’s opening up a lot of gaps. That’s allowing Kelly and Paille both to get pucks that they usually wouldn’t get to. It’s been tremendous. Obviously, Claude [Julien] deserves a lot of credit for doing that in the second period of Game No. 2.
“And I can tell you … [Julien] threw a five-star nutty in Game No. 1 of the Pittsburgh-Boston series, in the second TV timeout in the second period, and the players responded. And it was all about getting their identity back. Well, I can tell you, in the first period of Game No. 2, he threw worse than a five-star nutty, and he really challenged these guys. And the guy that really stood up after the challenge was Chris Kelly. I can tell you that right now. He was verbal, he was physical, he was nasty. He was really pushing and prodding. But he fed off what the coach did.”
To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.