Sunday, June 16, 2013
Five takeaways from Game 2
By James Murphy
Daniel Paille's overtime winner settles in the net behind Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
It was another overtime thriller in Chicago, and this time the Boston Bruins came out on top. Daniel Paille scored the winner 13:48 into overtime to give the Bruins a 2-1 win and knot the Stanley Cup finals at 1 game apiece. The series heads back to Beantown for Games 3 and 4. Here are my five takeaways from Game 2:
Depth scoring arrives at right time: As pointed out after Game 1 by colleague Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com, the Blackhawks were able to pull out that triple OT win in part because their depth players outshined the Bruins' depth players. The Hawks got two of their four goals from their third line, with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw lighting the lamp. Until Game 2, the Bruins had been depending heavily on their top six forwards for the past few games, and while the third and fourth lines weren't playing poorly, the production was lacking. But in Game 2, that depth scoring finally arrived as Chris Kelly scored the game-tying goal in the second period, and Paille scored the overtime winner after getting an assist on Kelly's goal. There was much more offensive pressure coming from the bottom six forward group, and they accounted for four points and eight shots. It couldn't have come at a better time; the Bruins' most dangerous line of Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton didn't put a shot on net until five minutes into the third period.
Rask and Crawford solid again: If not for Tuukka Rask, this game may have been over after the first period. The Bruins were outshot 19-4 in the opening frame, but Rask held the fort strong once again, allowing only Patrick Sharp's goal. Chicago had plenty of solid scoring chances with those 19 shots, but Rask was ready. As he has done all season and in the playoffs, he gave his team a chance to win. The Conn Smythe candidate finished with 33 saves, including six in overtime. On the other end, Corey Crawford was also solid. He finished with 26 saves and had some huge ones late in the second period and early in the third after the Bruins tied the game at 1 and found their legs. He had seven in overtime.
Time to reunite Seguin with Bergeron and Marchand: While head coach Claude Julien may not want to break up the sudden chemistry between Tyler Seguin and Paille, this scribe thinks Seguin has earned his way back into a top six spot. He assisted on the overtime winner by Paille and helped create the game-tying goal by Kelly. Seguin is playing much better and appears to be on the verge of breaking out and scoring some goals. Putting him back with his normal linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand may help get those goals. That line has had plenty of success together over the past two seasons, and it's time to reunite them.
Bruins looked tired and disorganized early on: It was a complete surprise that only one team was going to have a slow start and show signs of fatigue after the triple-overtime marathon in Game 1. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they were the team that looked like they were skating in quicksand. Not only were they outshot by a wide margin in the first period, they were clearly a stride or two behind the Blackhawks, who were able to really utilize their speed against the tired Bruins. In addition to the fatigue, the Bruins also seemed to be a bit disorganized. Many times they were scrambling in front of Rask to cover their man or find the puck.
Bruins hitting anything in sight: Once the Bruins found their energy, they were able to play their physical style and seemingly hit anything that moved. Boston outhit Chicago, 50-34. Lucic led the way with 10 hits and continues to be an intimidating force on the ice. The Bruins were able to slow down and wear out the speedy Hawks with Boston's physical prowess. The Bruins also used their power to get to the net on Kelly's game-tying goal in the second period as all forwards were driving to the net and creating havoc.