By Sidney Brown, WARR contributor
After getting out-worked over the course of six intense periods in Game 1, the Boston Bruins displayed determination in stealing Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals 2-1 in overtime, tying their best of seven series with the Chicago Blackhawks at 1-1 as the series shifts to Boston for the next two meetings.
The Hawks came out flying Saturday night, dictating tempo and paying it off immediately as Patrick Sharp netted home his ninth goal of the playoffs (11:22 – 1st period), his first of this series, giving the home team an early 1-0 lead. The Hawks continued to pressure the Bruins from every angle and in doing so dominated the shots on goal 19-4 along with scoring chances 16-2 in the first 20 minutes.
As the second period began, the tide started to turn as the Bruins ramped up their physical play and created turnovers, which led them to their first goal delivered by third-liner Chris Kelly (14:58 – 2nd period), his first of the playoffs, tying the score at 1-1. The third period was dominated by the Bruins again out-hitting and out-shooting Chicago by a 8-5 margin.
The Hawks tried to regain their pace from the initial period, but fatigue slowly started to set in. As if Wednesday’s Game 1 classic wasn’t enough, Game 2 once again gave us another overtime. Unlike in Game 1 though, the Bruins had jumped on opportunities better, creating numerous scoring chances while the Hawks could barely reach or touch the puck.
The Bruins’ aggressive play in OT paid off as they created a crucial turnover in the Hawks zone, which led to the game-winning goal by Daniel Pallie at 13:48, his third of the playoffs and first of the series, allowing the now-home team a chance to play with a boost of confidence at TD Bank Garden, starting tomorrow night at 7 pm (NBC Sports Network).
Both goalies played an outstanding game but Tuukka Rask stood tall above the rest as he tallied 33 saves off 34 shots for a save percentage of .971%. Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford kept up his solid play, making 26 saves to go along with a .929% save percentage. Once again, even with the Bruins dictating the pace from the second period on, Crawford did not receive much help from his offense, despite the Hawks out-shooting the Bruins 34-28 for the game.
For the Hawks to win this series, they must pass the puck better coming out of their own zone and NOT turn it over and also get more traffic in front of Rask. There wasn’t much traffic and/or bodies in front of Rask after the first period Saturday night.
This is the first time since 2004 that the Stanley Cup Finals were tied at a game a piece after the first two games. The Calgary Flames won the first game in Tampa Bay but lost the series in seven games to the Lightning.
My Game Puck for Game 2 is a shared one, going to Bruins goalie Rask for keeping his composure after the first period and to overtime hero Pallie.
First, to the Boston Bruins penalty kill for shutting down the Hawks on their man advantage 0-3.
Second, to the Hawks penalty kill unit for blanking the Bruins on their man advantage 0-2.
Third, to Bruins forward Nathan Horton for returning to the lineup in Game 2 from an apparent shoulder injury in the previous game. Horton played 21 1/2 minutes.
Last but not least, big props to Hawks captain Jonathan Toews for winning the Frank J. Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward), beating out Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron for the Selke.
Giving Extra Props
Here’s the rest of the 2013 NHL Award Winners, as announced on the NBC Sports Network Saturday:
Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year) – Paul MacLean – Ottawa Senators
General Manager of the Year Award – Ray Shero – Piitsburgh Penguins
Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sportsmanship) – Martin St. Louis – Tampa Bay Lightning
King Clancy Memorial Trophy (Leadership On and Off the Ice) – Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
NHL Foundation Player Award (Community Service) – Henrik Zetterberg – Detroit Red Wings
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Comeback Player of the Year) – Josh Harding – Minnesota Wild
Mark Messier Leadership Award (Leadership qualities to his team on and off the ice) – Daniel Alfredsson – Ottawa Senators
Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – Jonathan Huberdeau – Florida Panthers
Ted Lindsay Award (NHL’s Most Outstanding Player) – Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender) – Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
James Norris Memorial Trophy (Best Defenseman) – P.K. Subban – Montreal Canadiens
Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) – Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!
First, the Hawks power play went 0-3 on their man advantage in another anemic performance for that unit. I’m not going to waste any more time on this now-pointless subject.
Second, the Bruins power play went 0-2 with their man advantage.
Third, Hawks fourth line winger Brandon Bollig coughed up the puck in overtime, which led to the game winner by Daniel Pallie.
Last but not least, Hawks routine goal scorers Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews combined for a total of nine shots on goal and 0 points in Game 2.
With the series tied at 1-1, the questions following each team as they head into Boston for Game 3 include: Will the Bruins maintain their physical play in front of their home fans? Can the Hawks power play finally produce results? Will the Hawks survive the initial adrenaline rush from the Boston fans at the start of Game 3? And will the Hawks be up to stealing one game on the road in order to regain control of this series?
We’ll find the answers and then some Monday night.
Follow Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and look for Sidney’s tweets during the Hawks and Bruins’ remaining matchups.