By Brad Gardner
After playing 112 minutes of hockey in Game 1, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks returned to overtime in Game 2. The Bruins took the decision on a Daniel Paille goal at the 13:48 mark of the first overtime session, knotting the Stanley Cup Finals at one game apiece.
Both goaltenders continued their strong play in the series. Tuukka Rask earned the win with 33 saves on 34 shots and was especially important in the first period, when the Blackhawks outplayed the Bruins throughout the opening period and finished with a 19-4 advantage in shots.
Corey Crawford held his own, even if it did take some time for him to get into the game. After facing four shots in the first period, the Bruins established more offensive zone possession time as the game wore on and finished the game with 28 shots, 26 of which were saved by Crawford.
Although the Blackhawks got off to a hot start and had their goaltender keeping them in the game, the physical play of the Boston Bruins eventually contributed to the slower pace of play later in the game. The Bruins finished with 50 hits to the ‘Hawks 34, but that total was far more lopsided earlier in the game. Following the second period, the Bruins had three times more hits than the Blackhawks at 39-13.
Patrick Sharp got the home team on the board first when he found a loose puck and fired a wrist shot through traffic at the 11:22 mark of the first period. Patrick Kane drove into the zone initially and took a hard backhand shot. Kane took a swipe at the rebound and then Michal Rozsival pinched in and took a shot off the loose puck, but Rask turned both away. Michal Handzus and Kane kept the play alive around the net and the puck eventually wound up with Patrick Sharp as a scramble ensued in front of the Boston net. Handzus was tangled with several Boston players, but Sharp’s wrist shot made its way through the bodies and into the net.
The Blackhawks were close to putting the game up 2-0 on another scramble around Rask’s net, but the play was blown dead and overhead shots did not provide a good look of the puck crossing the line. Jonathan Toews attempted the wrap around, but Rask was able to get the puck under his pad. Marian Hossa tried to use his stick to knock the puck loose, instead knocking Rask into the net and sending the puck trickling across the goal line.
The second period evened out to some extent. Boston held Chicago to only four shots in the middle frame while upping their shots to a total of 12 through 40 minutes. The jump in the ‘Hawks step was gone by the middle of the game and they never really got their legs back under them enough to establish too much pressure in the Boston zone.
Chris Kelly tied the game with just over five minutes left in the second period. Tyler Seguin forced a turnover by Patrick Sharp behind Crawford’s net. Daniel Paille picked up the puck and made a quick move around Nick Leddy, which allowed him to get the puck towards the crease. Chris Kelly was the first one to the loose puck and beat Crawford to tie the game 1-1 heading into the second intermission.
The third period was spent largely in the Blackhawks’ zone, as the team began to miss passes on the breakout or at times even get the puck away from the Bruins. Chicago managed just five shots in the third to Boston’s eight. Jaromir Jagr was one of the Bruins better players down the stretch, setting up some of the team’s better chances for Brad Marchand and Zdeno Chara.
Regulation time was not enough to decide the game, but the Bruins continued to carry play in overtime. Even when the Blackhawks were able to get something going towards the offensive end, the Bruins made sure they didn’t spend much time there.
Boston, on the other hand, continued to threaten with great opportunities. Jagr drew iron on a shot about 90 seconds into the extra period. Kelly also had some opportunities, including a one-timer from in close that was saved by Crawford.
Paille finished the game with 6:12 left on the clock in the first overtime. Brandon Bollig mishandled a ring-around attempt near the blue line, allowing the Bruins to keep the zone. Adam McQuaid stepped up to keep the zone and passed to Seguin along the boards. Seguin sent a long pass across the offensive zone onto the tape of Paille, who skated left but shot right and beat Crawford underneath the glove.
– Neither team scored a powerplay goal in Game 2. The Blackhawks killed off two penalties while allowing three powerplay shots by Boston. Chicago’s powerplay went 0-for-3 with only two total shots. The Blackahwks actually generated as many shots while shorthanded as they did with the man advantage.
– The Blackhawks had 17 takeaways to Boston’s four, but were on the flip side of the giveaway column, finishing with 16 giveaways to Boston’s eight.
– Duncan Keith led the game in ice time with 32:09. Defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (31:00), Zdeno Chara (30:58), and Niklas Hjalmarsson (30:19) also broke the 30-minute mark, while David Krejci (27: 52) and Jonathan Toews (26:18) led the way for the forwards.
– Patrick Sharp (6) and Marian Hossa (5) each out-shot the entire Boston Bruins (4) in the first period of play. They combined for three shots through the rest of the game.
– 3 Stars of the Game: 3. Patrick Sharp… 2. Tuukka Rask… 1. Daniel Paille.
– The series will move to Boston for Game 3 on Monday at 7pm central.