Boston, MA - Fans at TD Garden saw an exciting end to Tuesday night's 2-1 win coming down to the shootout. And although there are many opinions surrounding this method of closing out the game, this one didn't disappoint.
Tyler Seguin was up first for the B's in Round 1, and moved in with speed on Johan Hedberg, dangling and waiting for the Devils goaltender to make a slight move before putting it over the top of his glove. One foot on the brake pedal, however, as the goal was waived off - a quick replay showed that something from the stands (which turned out to be a half-eaten hot dog) slid right through the crease behind Hedberg as Seguin scored.
"After it happened, I was kind of thinking that it must have been from the first bowl because it kind of came hard across, not down, but I didn’t get a good view. I think it probably affected me more than the goalie," said Seguin, who then had to re-shoot.
"The explanation was what’s in the rule book - if there’s any kind of obstruction or something," Coach Julien said on the NHL's ruling for the do-over. "At the end of the day, it worked out because he scored and he deserved to score again."
Although not too pleased with the fact that he had to try another attempt, Seguin regrouped and found another way past Hedberg for his second shootout goal in as many attempts this season (he scored as the B's first shooter in a 2-1 win over the Jets on Jan. 21), increasing his career stats to just over .500 with 12-for-22.
"It actually crossed my mind to do the same thing. Maybe he wouldn’t expect that," Seguin said on his mindset heading into the second attempt that saw him roof the puck over Hedberg. "I picked a new move in my head and I was either going to do the same thing or go my backhand, and when I got down there I decided to do my backhand."
"That was just instinct, I guess."
The first round continued with Ilya Kovalchuk showcasing his lighning-quick release to tuck the puck just under Rask's glove inside the post (not sure Tuukka even saw where that went it was so quick).
Four more rounds ensued, with Rask and Hedberg - both with solid goaltending in regulation and overtime - stoning their shooters, before Brad Marchand converted in the sudden-death sixth round.
What move did Marchand have planned out for this first-ever NHL shootout attempt?
"I told him to fake and go high, but Lord knows he’s not going to listen to anyone but himself," joked Seguin following the game.
No. 63 ended up relying on his instincts to put the puck in the back of the net - not necessarily a highlight reel goal, but a subtle, quick shot that squeaked through Hedberg's five-hole.
"All I could hear was Segs saying ‘go high, go high,' but, I just kind of blacked out. I don’t know what happened. I just made a move and shot and looked back, and it was in."
"I was just trying to make a fake and open him up and slide in. You don’t need to power it through. You just want to make sure you find a hole…I had that move in my head before I went in. I’ve done it a few times in practice, so I figured I’d try it and it worked."
The game then rested on Rask's shoulders, who welcomes the shootout pressure. The emotional level for No. 40 is extremely high when he's put in those situations - he has said in the past that the feeling after losing a shootout often equates to losing in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Quite a lot of pressure to be under, but Rask yet again came up with the big stop when he needed to, stoning Mark Zidlicky and giving three double-fist pumps before skating to greet his teammates after the W that brought them to 5-0-1 on the season.
"It’s big. Especially right now," said Marchand on the B's wrestling to come back and steal the win. "All these points are huge, and we want to get as many as we can. Right now it’s just building confidence, and it’s proven that we can win whether we’re up or down. We need that going forward."