Ask and you shall receive. Just about everybody that watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals knew they were watching a classic. It took a come-from-behind effort for the Chicago Blackhawks to defeat the Boston Bruins and it took three overtimes to do it. Most people were hoping for encore presentation. Well, except for maybe the Bruins. They realized in Game 1 they squandered many opportunities and let things get away from them by blowing a two-goal lead twice.
After two days off, Game 2 started with a flurry. Chicago came out like a cannon and Boston was chasing the puck. They were playing like they were still fatigued from the triple-overtime game. Chicago, on the other hand, was flying around the ice like they had been off for a week. They were quicker, stronger, and smarter with the puck in the first period of the game. One player for Boston, however, was on top of his game. Goalie Tuukka Rask was on fire for the Bruins. Rask faced 19 shots in the opening frame. Chicago sent a barrage of pucks towards the net and Rask stopped them all.
All but one, that is. Chicago was able to score the lone goal of that frame but it wasn’t a puck that Rask had any chance to stop. It looked as if he was interfered with on the play by a Hawks player and put in a position where he could not get up to make the save. Nevertheless, the goal by Patrick Sharp stood and the Hawks took a 1-0 lead. Rask kept the Bruins in the game. Boston could have easily been down by three or four going into the second intermission, but thanks to the netminder, they were down by one.
That one goal is all Rask would allow during the game; Chicago kept trying though. Rask faced a total of 34 shots in the game. Luckily for him and the Bruins faithful, Boston woke up in the second period. They played with more energy. They only managed four shots on goal during the first period against Corey Crawford but were able to finish with 28 shots on goal. Finally, in the second period, they were able to break through and get a puck past Crawford as Chris Kelley was able to score with about five minutes left in the second period. Then, it was Daniel Paille who ended the game in the first overtime as he beat Crawford with just over six minutes to play.
This night, however, wasn’t about the Bruins offense as much as it was the determination of a goaltender to win a game. From the opening faceoff, Rask had made up his mind he was not going to be the reason Boston went down 2-0 in the series. The series now shifts to Boston for Game 3 and Game 4. While Boston is celebrating the Game 2 victory, Chicago has to be wondering what they have to do to get past Rask. If he continues to play like he did in Game 2, not only will he win the Conn Smythe Trophy, but he will also be hoisting the Stanley Cup when the series is over.