An upper-body injury kept Marian Hossa out of Game Three, but it looks like the Chicago Blackhawks will have their veteran leader back for Wednesday’s pivotal Game Four of these Stanley Cup Finals against the streaking Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Chicago sorely missed Hossa in Game Three when they fell 2-0, and are now down 2-1 in the seven game series. Hossa is tied for the team-lead with 15 points this postseason, counting seven goals and eight assists. He didn’t partake in the morning skate, but according to CBS Sports, Hossa there are signs he will return for Game Four.
Boston has the opportunity to put Chicago in a deep 3-1 hole, and has left wing Daniel Paille to thank. Paille scored the Bruins first goal in the second period of Game Three, and drew a tripping penalty off Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson that led to Patrice Bergeron’s power play goal to cap the scoring.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask earned the shutout with 28 saves. It was the third shutout of the postseason for Rask, and he’s been on fire in the last two series. Against Pittsburgh Rask had a .985 save percentage and he’s been almost as strong versus Chicago, posting a .946.
Chicago keeper Corey Crawford has given up at least two goals in seven consecutive games, but his offense has typically provided more support.
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Since their thrilling 4-3 triple overtime victory in Game One, the Blackhawks attack has gone cold. They’ve taken 62 shots and converted only one for a goal, while losing the faceoff battle 79-49 over the last two games.
Hossa’s return could kickstart the Blackhawks offense, but they will also need their stars in Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickwell, and Patrick Sharp to emerge in Game Four in order to stay alive.
Chicago regular season leading-scorer Kane notched four huge goals in the final two games of the Western Conference finals, but he’s been held scoreless in the first three games against Boston.
Same goes for center Patrick Sharp, who has three goals and three assists in his last nine games. Other than tangling with massive Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara in Game Three, Bickwell has been limited to five shots on goal with no scores in the Finals.
The game begins at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by NBC, or watch their live online stream at NBC Live Extra here.
Betting Odds: Boston is favored by 1.5 goals
Over/Under: 4.5 goals
Prediction: Boston 2, Chicago 1