Rapid Reaction: Bruins 3, Blackhawks 0

BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have treated fans to some riveting hockey in the past calendar year.

But while Thursday night’s duel between last season's Stanley Cup finalists was tight through two periods, for the second time this week, the Hawks were unable to find offensive traction and were shut out, falling to the Bruins 3-0.

How it happened: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask turned in his seventh whitewash of the season, making 28 saves, sending Chicago to a shutout defeat for the second time in its past three games and second time this week, following a 2-0 loss to Nashville on Sunday.

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron provided the difference-maker in the first period. After outworking the Hawks' defense below the goal line, Bergeron helped set in motion his 24th goal of the season. Winning the puck back toward the point after winning a one-on-one battle along the end wall, Bergeron tipped home a Matt Bartkowski slap-pass while breaking across the top of Corey Crawford's crease at 11:50 of the first period.

The Bruins added a pair of insurance tallies in the third. At 5:28, Carl Soderberg banked in a rebound for his 14th goal of the season. Just 13 seconds later, Bergeron potted his second of the game after brief on-ice review.

What it means: With the St. Louis Blues' victory over Minnesota on Thursday, the Hawks fell eight points behind the in the Central Division race. Also, with a victory against the Vancouver Canucks later in the evening, the Colorado Avalanche snuck to within a point of second place in the division.

Razor’s edge: Going back to last year’s Stanley Cup finals, games between the Hawks and Bruins had been decided by a single goal in five of the teams’ previous eight meetings, including Chicago’s shootout victory Jan. 19.

Home stretch: The Hawks head to Ottawa for a Friday-night tilt (6:30 p.m. CT), the 16th of 18 back-to-back sets for Chicago this season.