Boston Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin stops a puck shot by Chicago Blackhawks right wing John Hayden during the first period on Sunday at the United Center in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Skating without another star in Brad Marchand, the Bruins saw their six-game win streak come to close in Chicago, as Boston fell to the Blackhawks, 3-1, Sunday afternoon.
Zdeno Chara scored the lone goal for the Bruins, who fell to 43-16-8 on the season and saw their six-game winning streak come to a close. Anton Khudobin stopped 36 shots in the loss.
Boston was shorthanded once again for the second leg of its home-and-home with Chicago, as Marchand, who collided with Chicago’s Anthony Duclair in Saturday’s Bruins’ victory, was a late scratch with an upper-body injury, joining Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy as other key Bruins players sidelined with injuries.
The Bruins did not do themselves any favors in the opening minutes of Sunday’s matinee, with Tim Schaller, Matt Grzelcyk and Danton Heinen all whistled for penalties in the span of five minutes in the first period.
Chicago capitalized off of Schaller’s roughing call, with Artem Anisimov tipping a shot from Jonathan Toews past Khudobin to put the Blackhawks on the board at 7:26 in the first stanza.
Boston outshot Chicago by a 14-11 margin in the second period but was unable to solve Chicago goaltender Anton Forsberg. David Pastrnak had the best chance of the frame for Boston on a mini-breakaway, but Forsberg knocked down the shot while covering the post.
Brandon Saad countered for the Blackhawks with a breakaway after splitting between Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid, but Khudobin denied the forward with an athletic pad save to keep Boston within one going into the second intermission.
The Bruins finally got on the board at 10:57 in the third, with Chara tallying his seventh goal of the season off a feed from David Krejci. Skating up into the high slot, Chara gathered the puck from the center and fired it into twine to tie things up.
A double minor proved to be Boston’s undoing in the final minutes of regulation, as Chicago received four minutes on the man advantage following a high stick from Chara that struck Saad in the face.
Just 18 seconds later, Patrick Kane sniped one past Khudobin to give Chicago the lead for good. Brent Seabrook beat the Bruins goalie five-hole with 1:05 remaining in the third to close out the win for Chicago.
Torey Krug spent most of the third period in the locker room, as the defenseman took a spear from Anisimov below the belt and promptly left the ice. It was a scary sight at first given Boston’s recent stretch of injuries, but the blueliner returned with just under 10 minutes to go.