Bruins Outlast Hawks in Overtime, Series Now Tied

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Stanley Cup Finals: series tied 1-1

The Blackhawks threw everything including the kitchen sink at the Bruins in game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Boston hunkered down, withstood Chicago’s strike, and ultimately prevailed in overtime, 2-1.

Chicago straight up manhandled Boston in the opening twenty-minutes. The Black and Gold lacked urgency and confidence in their game. As a result, the Blackhawks orchestrated a relentless offensive onslaught. They outshot the Bruins to a tune of 19-4. It was by far Boston’s worst single period showing this postseason.

Boston looked as if they were destined for a two-games-to-none series hole. Though it was the play of Tuukka Rask that proved to be the difference. Rask weathered a first period bombardment, turning aside 18 shots. His outstanding play allowed the Bruins to hang around, granting them another life in a sense.

Chicago carried a 1-0 lead into the second period thanks to a Patrick Sharp goal, although it conceivably could have been much larger. Sharp beat Rask just after he saved a handful of shots in succession. But Boston undoubtedly fed off of Rask’s inspirational play.

Clearly Claude Julien made the necessary adjustments during the first intermission, as his team altered the landscape of the game moving forward. The Bruins exhibited greater mental focus in steadying themselves. Boston came together as team and established their brand of hockey. Their increased physical play stifled Chicago’s speedy attack and in turn gave way to several offensive chances.

The Bruins outhit the Blackhawks 50-34 in the contest. It seemed as if Chicago’s players were constantly looking over their shoulders. Because of it, their game suffered. They couldn’t rekindle the success of the first period, as the Bruins proceeded to outshoot them 24-15 the rest of the way.

Coming into the night, Boston understood that a victory was their only option. Chris Kelly had been snake bitten all postseason. He finally found the net, finishing off a Daniel Paille net drive. His game-tying goal sucked the life from the United Center.

It was Kelly’s first goal since April 17. He described the goal as a “great five guy effort.”

Kelly and Paille both benefited from a change in lines. Claude Julien juggled his bottom six forwards a bit before pairing the two with Tyler Seguin. The trio combined for 2 goals, 2 assists, and a +5 rating. In sudden death overtime, Seguin snapped a cross-ice feed to Paille who then fired the game winner past Crawford.

Paille talked about the his clutch tie-breaking marker, saying, “We’re happy that it went in. Just a relief that the game was over and that we were able to come back.”

Rask’s brilliant play was rewarded, but more importantly the Bruins evened the series and are now heading home for two.

Milan Lucic was a force to be reckon with, as he dished out 10 hits. Jaromir Jagr had himself a strong game. He got off to slow start. As the game progressed, Jagr just kept getting stronger.  His relentless work along the boards helped create numerous scoring chances. He also rang a post in extra time.

Next to the Conn Smythe like effort put forth by Rask, the secondary scoring provided by Kelly and Paille played a huge role in the victory. The triumph serves as a relief to the Bruins. When Julien was asked about pairing the two together, he simply said, “it was a hunch.” Whatever the case may be, Boston dodged a bullet and now find themselves in a favorable position.

Julien accurately summed up his club’s night, saying, “the further the game went, the better we got.”

Nathan Horton was able to give it ago and following their thrilling win he said, “There was no way I was coming out of the lineup.”

Game 3 will be played on Monday Night at TD Garden.

Frank O’Laughlin – Lead NHL Contributor – Titletown Sports Network

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