Published June 16, 2013
CHICAGO – Five things learned in the Boston Bruins' 2-1 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday night:
ALL TIED UP: Many believed Boston and Chicago were the two best teams in the NHL this season, both possessing a lethal blend of potent offense and stingy defense. (Pipe down, Pittsburgh fans. The goal-a-palooza that was Sid the Kid and Co. was a sight to behold, but you have to at least fake some defense.) So it is fitting that the Bruins and Blackhawks head to Boston tied at one game each. The first two games haven't always been pretty — ahem, Brandon Bolllig — but they have been fast, entertaining and, most important, evenly matched. Fans are definitely getting their money's worth, and few can argue that the Kings or Penguins would make for a better matchup.
WORKING OVERTIME: Of course this game went to overtime. After Boston and Chicago needed OT to settle 10 games already in this postseason, including the 1-hour, 52-minute and 14-second marathon that was Game 1, there was no way this one was going to be settled nicely, neatly or in a timely fashion. At least this one didn't turn into a night-day game, however, with Daniel Paille scoring 13:48 into the first overtime. No doubt there will be extended practices Sunday after such a short night. Boston is now 5-2 in overtime this postseason while Chicago is 4-2. Oh, and it's not just the Bruins and Blackhawks logging extra hours. Game 2 was the 26th OT game of the postseason, tied for second most in NHL history. The record of 28 was set in 1993.
THE OLD MEN: Kids these days are such slackers. Jaromir Jagr has been playing longer than some of the Bruins have been alive. Really. That's not an exaggeration. Yet there the old man was, leading Boston with five shots Saturday night, and coming close to ending the game a few times, including banging a puck off the crossbar in overtime. "I wanted to help the team. It was still a tied hockey game," he said. "To score a goal would have been huge." Jagr wasn't the only one doing the senior set proud. Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, two of Chicago's more veteran players, led the Blackhawks with seven shots each, and Sharp had Chicago's only goal.
WHAT IF? Hossa's disallowed goal isn't the reason the Blackhawks lost Game 2, but it sure is fun to speculate. Shortly after Sharp gave Chicago the lead in the first period, Hossa appeared to double it. But the goal was waved off, with officials saying play should have been stopped because the referee had lost sight of the puck. Intermission came, the Bruins woke up, the Blackhawks dozed off and the rest is history. "It would have been nice to get it, but those guys make the call they see on the ice," Sharp said. "As a team, we've been in situations where we've had some bad bounces and were forced to regroup quickly, so it didn't affect us too much." Had Chicago gotten that goal, however, who knows if Boston could have overcome a two-goal deficit?
HELLO AGAIN, CHRIS KELLY: Kelly's tying goal in the second period was his first in the postseason since April 12, 2012, against Washington. Big deal, you might say, that was only last year. But the drought had dragged on for 23 games — or nearly the equivalent of the home schedule in this lockout-shortened season. "Just because he doesn't see himself as a goal-scorer doesn't mean he has to continue to have a goose egg on his stats," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "Sometimes that stuff, whether you like it or not, will weigh on you. When you get a night like that, it certainly takes a lot of weight off your shoulders and creates some positive thinking and some positive energy moving forward." The other positive is Boston's record when Kelly scores in the postseason: a sparkling 10-1, including Saturday night's victory.