BOSTON – The Bruins’ third line was No. 1 in Boston.
The revamped lineup of Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin scored Boston’s first goal and drew the penalties that led to another in a 2-0 win over Chicago on Monday night for a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup finals.
“That’s what we’ve got to do,” Paille said. “To be effective, we have to skate like that and hustle. It’s been good for us so far and we want to keep going.”
The line also led Boston’s pestering forecheck that forced Chicago into repeated giveaways and penalties as the Bruins controlled play from the start.
“We’re having fun. The three of us are working hard and having fun, which is nice,” Kelly said. “It’s always fun, but some days are more fun than others.”
Paille, who scored the overtime winner in Game 2 to tie the series, scored the first goal Monday off assists by Kelly and Seguin. The Bruins went up 2-0 when Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal set up by the grinding work of Kelly and Paille, who drew the penalties that gave Boston an 11-second 5-on-3 advantage.
Chicago’s Dave Bolland, who cross-checked Kelly with 8:00 left in the second, had just gotten out of the penalty box and didn’t quite make it back into the play when Bergeron scored with 5:55 left in the second period.
It was Bergeron’s seventh goal of the playoffs and although the official assists came from Jaromir Jagr and Zdeno Chara, Paille and Kelly deserved some credit, too.
“The commitment is totally there. Throughout a whole season it’s not easy to have that full commitment, but I think when you get to this stage, players start feeling it,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “They go above and beyond. That’s what you’re seeing from our team right now.”
Julien bumped Paille up from the fourth line after the first period of Game 2 and the combination with Kelly and Seguin paid off again.
“When you look at I guess the matchups, it just kind of seems to even itself out,” Julien said after Monday’s win. “Our top lines haven’t scored that much 5 on 5 either. It’s the Kelly line that gives us that goal 5 on 5. Right now it just seems that both teams are very aware of the other team’s top players and playing a chess match.”
Advantage, Bruins—again—with Game 4 to come in Boston on Wednesday night.
“I’m not one to say momentum. This game is over,” Julien said. “I think it’s more about refocusing on the next one, knowing that the team you played against is going to be looking at what they can do better. They’re going to make adjustments. We have to do the same from our end.”
Kelly scored his first goal of the post-season in Game 2 and Paille scored in overtime as the Bruins won 2-1. For the first time in the series, no OT was necessary Monday, thanks much to the Bruins pressure.
“I think we are just putting pucks on net and reading plays,” Paille said. “I think we are managing the puck a little bit better. Just on my goal, you saw Kells go in, and I went in and then I shot. I think we are just not giving them enough time to think with the puck and we are able to get it.”
Boston outshot Chicago 7-2 in the first five minutes and finished the game with 35 shots to the Blackhawks’ 28.
Kelly, who entered the game at minus-7 for the playoffs, also had eight faceoff wins, half of Chicago’s team total as the Bruins dominated that category, too, 40-16.
“We’re playing the best hockey of the season right now,” Julien said. “That’s what you’ve got to do to give yourself a chance to win a Stanley Cup.”