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Posted On Sunday, 06.16.2013 / 2:08 AM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Blackhawks' power play continues to struggle

CHICAGO – There were signs of slight improvement on their first power play Saturday night, but the Chicago Blackhawks reverted back to bad habits in the next two during their 2-1 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

After going 0-for-3 in a triple overtime Game 1 victory on Wednesday, the Blackhawks watched another trio of man-advantage situations go by the wayside in Game 2 with just two combined shots on goal – and both of those coming on the first power play of the game.

Chicago is now 0-for-6 in the series on the power play and its conversion rate dipped to 12.3 percent (7-for-57) in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Not helping matters is the success rate of the Bruins’ penalty kill, which is snuffing out power plays at a clip of 87.9 percent (ranked fourth in the postseason).

Posted On Sunday, 06.16.2013 / 2:02 AM

By Dan Rosen - Senior Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Victory helps Jagr deal with his frustration

CHICAGO -- The puck ripped off of Jaromir Jagr's stick and clanged off the crossbar, bounding up into the mesh protecting the fans sitting behind the goal line to stop play 1:28 into overtime Saturday night at United Center.

Jagr couldn't help himself -- he let out a primal scream, uniquely showing his frustration for barely missing the winner and extending what is becoming a borderline ridiculous scoring drought for the future Hall of Fame right wing of the Boston Bruins.

The 41-year-old hasn't scored a goal in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs; in fact, he hasn't turned on the red light since April 21 against the Florida Panthers.

Posted On Sunday, 06.16.2013 / 1:47 AM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Rask solid again for Bruins

CHICAGO -- After keeping his team within striking distance with a stellar first period between the pipes, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was rewarded with his first win in the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.

Rask, who stopped 18 of 19 shots in the opening 20 minutes when the Chicago Blackhawks completely dominated, turned away 15 shots the remainder of the contest to help lead the Bruins to a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 at United Center. The series shifts to TD Garden in Boston on Monday with the series tied, 1-1.

"We definitely were in survival mode there for a bit," Rask said. "It looked like they had more guys out there than we did [in the first]. They were bouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances.

Posted On Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 2:29 PM

By Brian Hedger - Correspondent / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Blackhawks stick with lineup that finished Game 1

CHICAGO -- Joel Quenneville is sticking with what worked in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, which his Chicago Blackhawks won 4-3 in triple overtime against the Boston Bruins on a double-deflection goal by Andrew Shaw.

Prior to Game 2 on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), the Chicago coach put his team through its morning skate with the same forward lines that finished the series opener Wednesday.

Rookie Brandon Saad is on the top line with captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, where Shaw played almost the entire regular season and to start the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with left wing Patrick Sharp fitting back into the second line and power forward Bryan Bickell slotting back into left wing on the third line.

"It was six periods [in Game 1], so we got a pretty good assessment of what they're up to," Quenneville said of the Bruins. "I think we got a little bit more comfortable with our own line rotation as we were going along. I think every game is different. We know we're playing a real good team here. We've got to be at our best. Every game is different. I think the lines right now look like they were for most of the regular season."

Posted On Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 2:11 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Horton says he will play in Game 2

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton declared himself ready to go for Game 2 on Saturday when his team faces the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton revealed the news to the media following his team's morning skate at United Center, where he skated in his regular spot on the right wing on a line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

"I feel good," Horton said. "There are no setbacks and I'm ready to go. In the playoffs, everyone is playing physical and everyone has bruises. I'm good to go."

The Bruins trail the best-of-7 series, 1-0. The Blackhawks scored a 4-3 triple overtime victory in Game 1 on Wednesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 06.15.2013 / 12:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Marchand plans to see more of Keith throughout Final

CHICAGO -- One of the more intriguing battles that began to take shape during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday was the one pitting Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith against Brad Marchand, the Boston Bruins agitator.

It was a tad surprising to see Keith and his partner, Brent Seabrook, logging big minutes against Marchand's line with center Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr. Only because top-line Bruins center David Krejci leads all scorers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 23 points in 17 games.

Despite that, Marchand didn't see it that way.

"Keith and Seabrook pretty much played the whole game," Marchand said. "They were matched against everybody."

Marchand, who is fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points, isn't exaggerating either. Keith actually led all players in ice time (48:40) for Game 1, while Seabrook logged 39:12.

Posted On Friday, 06.14.2013 / 5:05 PM

By Corey Masisak - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Blackhawks' Keith takes minute-munching to extreme

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith spent more time on the ice Wednesday than any player has in a game during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and he could tell Thursday morning.

Keith logged 48:40 of ice time in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, a 4-3 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins. He eclipsed Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg by four seconds for the most playing time in the game, and it was the most since Ryan McDonagh and Marc Staal each saw more 49 minutes in a three-overtime victory for the New York Rangers against the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2012 playoffs.

"Personally, I didn't feel that great at the start of the game," Keith said Friday at United Center. "I felt better as the game went on. I don't know if that is because we had the three days off between rounds. We hadn't had three days off in that entire [Western Conference Final]. I felt better at the end of the game, but I was definitely feeling it yesterday.

"Yeah, I definitely noticed it. I think anybody who didn't notice it would be lying, but when you play almost two games, you notice it."

Posted On Friday, 06.14.2013 / 4:15 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Horton practices, will be game-day decision

CHICAGO -- Forward Nathan Horton returned to the ice Friday during practice as the Boston Bruins resumed preparations for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Horton and Tyler Seguin split line rushes with the top unit alongside center David Krejci and wing Milan Lucic. Boston coach Claude Julien reiterated to the media after practice that Horton remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury he sustained in the first overtime of Game 1 Wednesday. A decision on whether he is in the lineup will be made Saturday.

Horton wasn't made available to the media after practice.

"He's day-to-day and that's where he is," Julien said. "That's why he practiced [Friday] and we'll have to make a decision on Nate [Saturday]. But it was encouraging to see him out there today, and if he feels good, he's in the lineup."

Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 8:03 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

3-OT loss brings back memories of 1990 for Neely

CHICAGO -- If anyone knows what the Boston Bruins are going through in the aftermath of a draining triple-overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday at United Center, it would be team president Cam Neely.

When Andrew Shaw banked an already deflected shot off his knee pad and past Tuukka Rask for the winning goal 12:08 into the third overtime to give Chicago a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Neely felt a very familiar pain as he watched from the team's management box.

Twenty-three years earlier, Neely -- then a star power forward with the Bruins -- lived through a similar nightmare in Game 1 of the 1990 Final. The Bruins and the Edmonton Oilers were locked in a 2-2 tie past the 15-minute mark of the third extra period at Boston Garden when Edmonton's Petr Klima, who had played sparingly throughout the game, scored the game-winning goal.

That game ended 55:13 into overtime; it's the longest game in Stanley Cup Final history.

"Mentally, it wasn't tough to recover from that," Neely said Thursday at the Bruins' hotel. "Physically, it was the same for both teams."

Posted On Thursday, 06.13.2013 / 7:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer / - Stanley Cup Final series blog

Bruins' Krug set to atone for Game 1 gaffe

CHICAGO -- Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug isn't about to let one mistake get the best of him. He realizes there are more games to be played in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final -- and more opportunities for a little redemption.

The rookie knew he'd be a target of the media Thursday, one day after an ill-advised pass ultimately led to a critical goal for the Chicago Blackhawks, who rallied to defeat the Bruins 4-3 in triple overtime in Game 1 at United Center.

But the 22-year-old was stoic, answered every question as best he could, and appeared already geared up for Game 2 of this best-of-7 series Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"The best players forget mistakes like that and you learn from them," Krug said. "I have a short-term memory, so for me, it was kind of get ready to get back out there when my name is called and in overtime, I was ready to go."

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock to the Toronto Star on recalling goalie Garret Sparks from the AHL to start Monday in his NHL debut
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