Two key players were injured during the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals in Chicago.
Bruins center Patrice Bergeron was taken to a Chicago hospital during the third period with an undisclosed injury. He was released Sunday and was cleared to travel back to Boston with the team.
“Patrice was discharged from the hospital Saturday night and will be flying home with the team this morning,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews sat out the third period with an upper-body injury after taking a hard hit to the head area on a check on Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk midway through the second period.
Bergeron’s injury occurred late in the first period. He attempted to return to the ice in the second period but lasted only two shifts for 49 seconds.
Sportsnet reported that Bergeron might have injured his spleen. Bob McKenzie of TSN said Sunday that report wasn’t valid.
“It’s just an injury that wasn’t able to let him finish the game,” Julien said. “He may be in next game. I’m not going there.”
If Bergeron is not able to return for Game 6 on Monday night in Boston, it would be a huge loss for the Bruins. He leads the team during the Stanley Cup Final with four goals and 19 shots on goal.
Toews sat on the Chicago bench during the third period as the Blackhawks took a 3-2 lead in the series. He had assisted on Patrick Kane’s goals in the first and second periods.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be ready next game, upper-body,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I checked on him a couple times there. I think he wanted to play, but we’ll see.”
The hit on Toews, who has two goals and 12 points in the playoffs, was reviewed by the NHL and on Sunday it was learned no supplemental discipline would be handed down for the apparent blow to the head.
“I’m pretty sure it was clean,” Boychuk said.
On Saturday night, the latest of Patrick Kane’s heroics occurred when he scored twice in the 3-1 victory that put the Blackhawks on the verge of winning their second title in four seasons.
“Sometimes you catch some breaks,” Kane said. “I was in the right spot at the right time tonight on both goals. I think everyone wants to be that guy in big-time games, and I’ve been lucky enough in a couple to step up.”
Chicago leads the Stanley Cup Final 3-2 with Game 6 set for Monday night in Boston.
A bounce-back performance by goalie Corey Crawford and an empty-net goal by Dave Bolland put the finishing touches on the victory. Crawford, who was heavily criticized for allowing five goals in the Blackhawks’ 6-5 overtime victory in Game 4, stopped 24 shots.
“It was a big effort by everyone to come back, play defensively, block shots, sacrifice our bodies to block those pucks and quickly get on to offense,” Crawford said. “Another good game, I think, moving the puck, moving our feet, and getting into the zone.”
Zdeno Chara ended Crawford’s shutout bid with a blast from the left faceoff circle at 3:40 of the third period, making it 2-1. The shot beat Crawford high to his glove side, an area he struggled with in Game 4.
The goal came as the Bruins increased their pressure after putting only five shots on goal in the second period.
“We definitely came out harder in the third period,” said Boston’s David Krejci, who fed Chara for the one-timer goal. “We got that first one, but we just couldn’t get anything going after that, we couldn’t get that second one.”
Chicago grabbed a 2-0 lead through two periods on Kane’s two goals.
Scoring chances weren’t plentiful in the first period, but the Blackhawks broke through at 17:27 on Kane’s first goal of the night.
He stuffed in a rebound to the right of a fallen Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, who couldn’t control a slap shot from Johnny Oduya. Rask finished with 29 saves.
The period was marked by physical play, highlighted by a scuffle between Boychuk and Patrick Sharp along the boards just inside the Bruins zone 30 seconds after the Chicago goal.
Rask wasn’t tested often in the first but did withstand two close calls that would have cost the Bruins dearly. The first came when Toews hit the post to Rask’s right at 3:38.
Rask went from left to right across the crease to deny Sharp with about five minutes left in the first to keep it scoreless at that point.
Chicago was able to make it 2-0 early in the second period on Kane’s second goal. He backhanded the rebound of a Bryan Bickell wraparound chance that eluded Chara and Rask at 5:13.
The goal was Kane’s ninth of the playoffs and third of the series, both coming in the past two games. Toews assisted for the second time in the game.
NOTES: The only roster change from Game 4 for either team involved the Bruins as center Carl Soderberg replaced left winger Kaspers Daugavins. … Toews’ assists were his first of the series. … Game 5 winners in the Stanley Cup Final when a series was tied 2-2 have gone on to win the Cup 15 of 22 times (68.2 percent). The Blackhawks accomplished that feat while winning their most recent Cup in 2010. Meanwhile, the Bruins became the seventh team to rally from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2011 Cup. … Saturday’s attendance was 22,274.