BOSTON — Marian Hossa was on the ice during warmups and then he was not.
Injured while the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins prepared for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night at TD Garden, Hossa was scratched from the lineup and Chicago's' chances to even the series took a disastrous hit before the puck dropped.
Looking out of sorts after losing one of their top players, the Blackhawks sputtered offensively, hung on for dear life in the defensive zone and were a train wreck on the power play before eventually succumbing to Boston, 2-0, in front of 17,565. The Bruins grabbed a 2-1 edge in the series with Game 4 on Wednesday in Boston.
"He's a big part of the team, so it's a big loss when he's not in the lineup," Duncan Keith said.
History is not on the Blackhawks' side, as teams winning Game 3 after splitting the first two games of the finals have gone on to win the Stanley Cup 84% of the time since the best-of-seven format was adopted in 1939.
Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron provided the offense and goaltender Tuukka Rask did the rest for the Bruins, halting all 28 shots for his third shutout of the playoffs. Corey Crawford battled gamely in net for Chicago but suffered the loss.
"He's day to day," Coach Joel Quenneville said of Hossa, who has an upper-body injury. "We're hopeful he'll be ready for the next game."
With Hossa out, Ben Smith got the call — only his second game of 2013 after playing in the regular-season finale. The top line was a mish-mash with Jonathan Toews centering for Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik. Smith slotted into the No. 2 line with fellow winger Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland in the middle.
With those jumbled units, the Blackhawks were not able to sustain much offensive pressure in the opening period. That was indicative of their continued struggles on the power play. They entered the game seven for 57 (12.3%) with a man advantage in the postseason and not only couldn't create chances but lost momentum during two power plays in the first.
"I thought we did a lot of things good tonight," Keith said. "For whatever reasons, we can't capitalize on our chances. Time is running out. We just have to come out with a big game next game and find a way to get a win."
Bruins Coach Claude Julien put together a line of Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin starting with Game 1 of the series and it continued to pay dividends when Paille scored to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead early in the second.
Bolland couldn't corral a puck deep in the Blackhawks' zone and Paille pounced on it, spun and beat Crawford to the glove side. Paille was the hero of Game 2 for Boston when he scored in overtime in a 2-1 victory.
Patrick Kane had a chance after a nice feed from Brent Seabrook, but Rask stopped the attempt from in close.
Late in the second, the Blackhawks ran into penalty troubles and it cost them. Moments after an 11-second two-man advantage ended, Jaromir Jagr sent a terrific cross-ice feed through traffic to Bergeron, who was camped by the left post. Bergeron fired it past a lunging Crawford and that was more than enough for the Bruins.
Neither team mounted much of an attack in the third as the Bruins closed ranks and the punchless Blackhawks couldn't mount any pressure. Chicago had another power play but couldn't convert and has failed on all 11 opportunities in the finals.
"That's not the result we wanted," Smith said. "It was kind of a wild night, [but] I was obviously grateful to be a part of it."