Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals went to overtime Saturday night, and this time it was the Bruins who came out on top.
A game that seemed like it would be a blowout for Chicago became a closely contested, tight-checking affair, with limited scoring opportunities.
The Blackhawks came out flying off the opening faceoff. They pushed the pace throughout the first period, but managed just one goal. After a scramble in front, in which Tuukka Rask made at least three stops, Patrick Sharp finally found the back of the net.
Just over a minute later, the Blackhawks believed they had scored again.
There was chaos around the Boston goal and the puck just barely got over the line. The play was reviewed and the call on the ice stood: no goal. Referee Wes McCaulley had blown his whistle (or at least intended to) prior to the puck crossing the line.
The period would end with the shots 19-4 in favor of the Blackhawks. Rask kept his team in it, making save after save in what otherwise could have been a disastrous period for the Bruins.
In the second period, the Bruins seemed to find their legs. They were stronger in their own end and much quicker in transition.
With five minutes remaining in the period, Tyler Seguin tied up Sharp behind the Chicago goal, allowing Dan Paille to steal the puck. His wrap around attempt was stopped by Corey Crawford, but Chris Kelly made no mistake on the rebound, tying the game at one.
Aside from a couple of chances for Boston early on, the pace in the third period was slow and both teams appeared timid.
So, for the second straight year, the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals needed overtime. Prior to 2012 that hadn't happened since 1951, when all five games between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs required extra time.
Overtime didn't disappoint, producing what was easily the best action of the game. The teams exchanged end-to-end rushes, which resulted in a number of good scoring chances, including a few near misses on rebounds.
Chicago got a break about eight minutes into overtime when Nick Leddy shot the puck over the glass from behind his own net. It originally looked as though a penalty would be called, but the referees gathered and eventually ruled (incorrectly) that it had been deflected.
The Bruins didn’t need the power play, however, as minutes later Seguin fired a crisp pass over to Paille, whose wrist shot went in off the far post.
The Blackhawks missed their opportunity to put the game away in the first period and it cost them.
They had a solid forecheck, made good passes and got pucks and bodies to the net over and over again; and yet, they couldn't beat Rask for a second goal.
The one positive that the Blackhawks can take from this game is the play of Corey Crawford, who was solid yet again, stopping 26 of 28 shots. It appears as though he’s not only a Conn Smythe candidate, but a candidate to make Canada’s Olympic team as well.
This is the first time since 2004 that a team has not gone up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Now the series shifts to Boston, where Game 3 will be played Monday night at the TD Garden.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
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