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Boston proves it can win in the Madhouse

Monday, 06.17.2013 / 9:23 AM CT
By Stu Grimson - TV Analyst / Stu Grimson's Blog
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Big win for Boston in a key game. They tie the Stanly Cup Finals at one apiece and, in the process, they demonstrate they can win in a very tough building.

If the Bruins don’t prevail, they have to win four of the remaining five. And you just don’t want to put yourself in that spot against a team like the Chicago Blackhawks. What’s most impressive about Boston’s Game Two victory though is what they had to withstand to get the result they wanted.

Chicago came out of the gates and played a very inspired first period. Shots on goal after one, 19-4 Chicago. The ice was tilted heavily in the home team’s favor; that’s as determined a period as I’ve seen played in this year’s playoffs. The Bruins can thank Tuukka Rask that they didn’t come out of the opening period down by three or four goals.

Patrick Sharp opens the scoring after a wild flurry in Boston’s end. Immediately preceding this play, the NBC analysts highlighted a total of four Blackhawks under the hash marks trying to bang one past Rask. The puck ultimately pops out of the low slot, Sharp tracks it down, turns and fires through a mass of humanity in front of the Boston net. How this gets through, I’m not sure. In any case, it’s 1-0 Chicago and the Madhouse erupts as the Hawks open the scoring.

Chris Kelly gets Boston back to even 14:58 into the second period. He crashes down from the point where he’d been filling in for a pinching Andrew Ference. Kelly sees the play develop as Daniel Paille, from under the Chicago goal line, puts a nifty little inside move on Nick Leddy to give himself the space to get it to the front of the net. Kelly is able to pop it up and over a sprawling Crawford as the puck comes loose off of Paille’s stick.

From there, the rest of Game Two is played even up in terms of the pace of play and territorial advantage. One notable distinction. Open ice is very hard to come by. In truth, from the second period on this game is played very close to the vest. Neither team is giving up much and high grade chances are few in number. There’s just not a lot of space to operate.

And after Wednesday night’s triple OT extravaganza, players on both rosters have to be rolling their eyes as Game Two also cannot be decided in regulation. As a player, you budget your physical resources for three 20 minute periods. So when you can’t reach a conclusion inside of three periods, you begin tapping into reserves you hadn’t expected to use. Or perhaps reserves you didn’t realize you had for that matter.

When the stakes are this high, any chip, any pass, or any small misstep can be the key to the game. That certainly was the case as Brandon Bollig attempted to control a puck ringed around the outside wall inside Chicago’s zone.

Andrew McQuaid steps up and slides the turnover down to Tyler Seguin on the half wall. A quick feed across the high slot to Daniel Paille. And Paille wastes no time getting off a stiff snap shot that beats Crawford far side off the post and in. Bruins win and we’ve got a ties series.

Notable performances came from the following. Both goaltenders played very well; though Rask overshadows his counterpart Crawford largely due to the incredible first period he had while holding Chicago to just one goal. In terms of the skaters, there was no better for the Hawks than Patrick Sharp. Scored Chicago’s only goal, had seven shots on net, and I’m not sure I’ve seen him skate stronger this year. He was a force.

However, Daniel Paille was a difference maker on this night. He was directly responsible for both Boston goals; he made big league plays on each.

A playoff series doesn’t get interesting until the team with home ice advantage loses a game in its building? I would argue this one was plenty interesting even before Boston did what few NHL teams have done this year. But there’s no denying now; Chicago has met a formidable playoff opponent in the Bruins.

See you around the rink.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61