As Michael Hurley said on Twitter following the conclusion of this game, the Boston Bruins proved tonight that you can still win a game in the Stanley Cup Final while completely skipping the first period.
It’s true: in the first 20 minutes of play, the Bruins were completely outplayed by the home Chicago Blackhawks, who were looking to take a two-game lead in the series before hitting the road. It was kind of embarrassing, actually. Badly outshot, their one saving grace was the fact that they killed a penalty and that Tuukka Rask was between the pipes. He can’t stop them all, though, and Patrick Sharp beat him after a long sequence of frenzied saves and someone sitting on him, which may have impeded his ability to do his job and read Sharp’s chance. Down a goal and looking like a shadow of themselves, the Bruins needed help.
Thankfully, it came in a timely manner. Coach Claude Julien gave his squad a little talk about full-game efforts and the sheer difficulty of coaching and watching that dreadful period. After encouragement like that, they steadily improved. Chris Kelly, who hadn’t scored since before the playoffs began, was the one to knot the game up at the end of the second. The fire was soon lit under the visiting team and they played like men possessed, especially at the end of regulation, when the last goal will win it.
Nothing doing in regulation, though, not for lack of trying. The epitome of trying in this game? Jaromir Jagr, whose favorite player is himself. He was playing like a man half his age, swooping in to steal pucks, taking shots and leading the entire team in shots on goal with five. At one point, one shot looked like it was bound for the back of Corey Crawford‘s net, but it wasn’t and so he roared in frustration, looking up to the sky. We’ve all been there, man.
The good news, though, is that this time they only needed one overtime period to do things–and they did good things. Again Jagr tried his best to finish it, and again he quite nearly did, but tonight was a night for the bottom-sixers. So, Daniel Paille was the one firing the game-winning goal, though Kelly was the one wearing the player of the game jacket.
All the road team can ask for at the start of a series is a split when they go down in game one. The Bruins got exactly what they needed and now they’re heading back to TD Garden for a Monday night soiree at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. This could be a big one!