BOSTON - The Bruins are two wins away from their second Stanley Cup in the past three years.
And just as they had done to the potent Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference final (two goals against in four games), Claude Julien's team is locking down the opposition offense.
Tuukka Rask pitched his third shutout in the past seven games and Game 2 overtime hero Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron scored second-period goals to power Boston to a 2-0 Game 3 win over Chicago for a 2-1 series lead over the stifled Blackhawks.
Rask and his buddies have yielded only one goal in the last two games and held onto home-ice advantage with the series resuming at TD Garden Wednesday night.
If you're into history, consider this: Teams winning Game 3 of a 1-1 finals have gone on to win 21 of the 25 times it has happened.
With the Hawks, the Presidents' Trophy winner as the top team in the league in the regular season, missing an injured Marian Hossa, Rask stopped 28 shots as the Bruins scored their seventh straight home playoff victory. He was beaten by Bryan Bickell with 45 seconds left but the puck struck the inside of the post.
Remember, that streak started when Boston came from three goals down in the third period and eliminated Toronto in overtime in Game 7 of the first round. The Bruins are 11-2 starting with that comeback.
Paille scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, while Bergeron beat Corey Crawford on the power with his seventh.
Chicago's Dave Bolland failed to control a puck leading to the first goal and also took three penalties, one leading to the second.
Boston killed all five Chicago power plays (the last one just the final 11.9 seconds of the game) and have now killed 27 straight.
Hossa, who has 15 points -- tied for the team lead coming in to Monday's game -- was injured during warmups and replaced by Ben Smith, who played at Boston College. While the Hossa news was a surprise, as expected, Viktor Stalberg was back in the Chicago lineup. Brandon Bollig, whose giveaway led to the Game 2 winner, was scratched.
The Bruins killed off the only two penalties of the scoreless first period before taking the lead 2:13 into the second. Again, it was the new line coach Claude Julien put together in Game 2 that got the job done.
Tyler Seguin was robbed by a Crawford glove save, the puck going into the corner, where Chris Kelly tried to center. Bolland was there to intercept but Paille disrupted him, grabbed the puck, wheeled and fired.
Soon after, TD Garden chants of "Craw-ford, Craw-ford" began, reminiscent of what the local fans did to Roberto Luongo in the 2011 final.
The Bruins wasted most of their first power play, but Niklas Hjalmarsson tripped Paille and the home team had an 11-second two-man advantage. Bolland was in the box for the first one and was still getting back into the 5-on-4 when Jaromir Jagr hit Bergeron with a precision pass across the goalmouth at 14:05.
That got the fans into a "We Want The Cup" chant.
NOTES: Hockey Night in Canada personality (and former Bruins coach) Don Cherry, asked if he thought Boston's Brad Marchand is a "pest" said, "The funny thing is, they call him a 'pest' but he's not a pest. He's a hockey player that's a little dirty. Maybe [a lot] dirty, but he's good. But he's not, for sure, he's not a pest. A pest is a guy who maybe gets four or five goals and gets on the fourth line and stuff like that. He's my type of guy. He reminds me of Kenny Linseman, the Rat. Let's start calling him 'Rat Junior.'" Marchand replied after hearing Cherry. "Yeah, it's definitely a big compliment." ... Cherry on being back in Boston: "I just love coming back here. I love hearing the guys with their Boston accent. The security guy let me in my room last night after a few beers and he said, 'Thanks for coming back, Don. We enjoy it when you're here.' I get a good feeling when I come here." ... Boston's Gregory Campbell, out with a broken leg, rejoined his teammates, complete with a black (team color) cast. "He's such a big part of our team and we wouldn't be where we are right now if he wasn't here, so it's great to be around him again," Marchand said. ... Keeping with their postseason honoring victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Bruins welcomed Rob Rogers, Jenn Rogers and Jennifer Lemmerman, siblings of Sean Collier, the MIT police officer killed by terrorists, as the pregame Banner captains.