Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask furthered his case for the Conn Smythe Trophy in Game Two. The Blackhawks bombarded Rask with 19 shots in the first period, but he allowed only one goal – by Patrick Sharp – at the conclusion of a lengthy barrage.
Even by conservative estimates, Rask stopped at least three additional “sure things” by the Blackhawks. Sharp had six of the shots and Marian Hossa had five. That sort of goaltending kept his team from getting blown out in the first period, and Rask very well could have taken up residence in the Blackhawks’ heads.
The Bruins got Nathan Horton back in the line-up after his departure during Wednesday’s first overtime. However, his line (with Left Wing Milan Lucic and Center David Krejci) did little to produce much, with Krejci getting the line’s only shot on goal until later in the third. In his interview with NBC’s Pierre McGuire, Bruins’ Coach Claude Julien admitted that the Blackhawks caught the Bruins “on their heals” in the first period.
Late in the second period, Boston was able to capitalize on Rask’s work. The Bruins’ role players came through to tie it – Chris Kelly converting a rebound of a Daniel Paille shot. So, although Chicago had dominated territorially, they had not on the scoreboard. When a breakaway by Brad Marchand was stopped by an overlooked slash by Brent Seabrook and the goalpost to Crawford’s left with 1:48 left, it was clear that no matter how much Chicago “had its way” in the first period, this game could be taken by either side.
A number of icing calls against Chicago late in the third gave the Bruins some opportunities against the Blackhawks, but the Bruins had scored on just one of 16 shots totaled in the second and third periods, during which they held the Blackhawks to nine. Game Two would go to overtime as well!
41-year-old Jaromir Jagr had the best early chance, ringing one off the pipe with a heavy wrister 1:28 into overtime, beating Corey Crawford’s glove. Five minutes later, Rask got just enough glove on a shot by Patrick Sharp to keep the drama going. With 10:59 gone in the overtime, the United Center faithful erupted in a Bridgestone Arena – like ovation to urge on the Blackhawks.
While it was the Blackhawks depth players who produced the win in the first game of the series, their Bruins’ counterparts did it in the second. With 13:48 gone in overtime, Daniel Paille ended the proceedings, on helpers by Tyler Seguin (who had been switched to that line during the game by Julien) and defenseman Adam McQuaid.
The Bruins should be deliriously happy that they split in Chicago. That is particularly after their could-have-been-disastrous first period Saturday night. The Blackhawks are the team thinking about lost opportunities at this point, especially their lack of production on the powerplay.
Now the scene shifts to Boston’s TD Garden for Monday night’s Game Three. Overtime anyone? Better take a nap!