Bruins Survive Sluggish Start, Even Series With 2-1 Overtime Victory

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It may have taken them longer than usual to get going, but the Boston Bruins were able to recover from a disastrous opening period and storm back for a 2-1 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. In doing so, the team evened the series, 1-1, before heading back to Boston for Games 3 and 4.

In the first period, it appeared as if the Bruins were going to be in for a tough evening at the office. Chicago had the Boston net under siege throughout the entire opening twenty minutes and was completely dominating the puck possession aspect of the game. The Blackhawks were looking a lot like the unstoppable juggernaut that rolled through the Western Conference with ease during a historic, season-opening 24-game point streak. It was as if the opening storm that many had expected the ‘Hawks to come out with in front of their home fans in the series opener had been delayed until Game 2. Chicago eventually accumulated an enormous total of 19 shots on goal during the first period, while holding Boston to just four. Fortunately for the Bruins, only one of the Blackhawks’ many opening-period shots made it past goaltender Tuukka Rask. Out of a frenetic net-mouth scramble in the Boston crease, Chicago sniper Patrick Sharp found a way to shovel it into an open goal to put the home team ahead, 1-0. However, just keeping the score within one at the intermission was, without a doubt, a huge momentum boost for the Bruins.

“Well, we definitely were in survival mode there for a bit. It looked like they had more guys out there than we did. They were bouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances.  We definitely played pretty bad” said Rask. “But, you know, it was good that we were only down by one and regrouped after that”, he added.

After surviving the opening frame, the Bruins were able to re-establish their game over the next forty-plus minutes, changing the pace of the game from feverish, end-to-end chaos, to the slower, more physically-demanding style that they have typically been much more comfortable in. Towards the end of the period, the Bruins were finally able to get on the board when an incredible effort behind the Chicago net by Daniel Paille was enough to set up new linemate Chris Kelly for a rebound goal in front.

“I think on my goal, it was a great five-guy effort. Andrew (Ference) made a pinch, Tyler (Seguin) was in on the play and got it to Daniel (Paille), and Daniel took it to the net. I just happened to be there, tapped it in” said Kelly.

For the final five minutes of the second period, most of the third, and even throughout overtime, the game was a complete role-reversal from what we saw in the early going, as Boston dictated the play and really took control of the game. After the first period, the B’s outshot the ‘Hawks by a significant 24-15 margin. However, as no team was able to break the tie, we were heading to overtime for the second straight game.

At the 13:48 mark of the extra frame, Boston would get another goal from their third line, as Paille’s quick wrist shot beat Blackhawks’ goaltender Corey Crawford to the glove side, sending the Bruins over the boards for a series-tying celebration.

“Dan skated well tonight. His forecheck created turnovers. He also was a lot stronger on the puck as far as battling, coming up with it” said Boston head coach Claude Julien, praising Paille’s superb performance in Game 2. “That was a great shot from him, and obviously a great pass by Tyler (Seguin). That line, like I said, came up huge for us tonight.”

With the series now even at one game apiece, the 2013 Stanley Cup Final will now shift eastward to Boston’s TD Garden. Game 3 is set for Monday evening. Puck-drop will be just after 8:00 PM.

Ben’s Three Stars of the Night: 

1) paille Daniel Paille (1 Goal/1 Assist/Plus-2 Rating)

2) Tuukka Rask (33 Saves)

3) Chris Kelly (1 Goal/Plus-2 Rating/3 Shots)

Series: Tied, 1-1. 

Looking Ahead: Game 3 is set for Monday at 8:00 PM in Boston.

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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Contributor to the New England Hockey Journal. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.

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