Bruins with advantage at home, in overtime
In the NHL playoffs, home ice isn’t nearly as important compared to the inherent advantage in the MLB, NFL and NBA playoffs.
With that said, Saturday night’s 2-1 overtime win by the Bruins over the Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is a huge result for many reasons. Boston is 7-2 at TD Garden during this postseason so going back there for Games 3 tied at 1, provides the B’s a great opportunity to really take control of the series or at least go back to Chicago tied 2-2. Plus the Blackhawks are only 3-4 on the road this postseason and it’s clear that they haven’t been the same team outside of United Center.
At this point, Bruins fans should be hoping for overtime. The Bruins have become a very solid team in the sudden death moments of playoff hockey. The Game 2 win improved the Bruins’ overtime record in these playoffs to 5-2. In the process, they set a franchise record for most overtime victories in a single postseason. What’s most impressive is that they’ve recorded at least one in each series: two OT wins vs. the Maple Leafs, one OT win vs. the Rangers, one OT win vs. Penguins and now one OT win vs. the Blackhawks. Boston has experienced the highest of highs – Game 7 vs. Toronto, Game 3 vs. Pittsburgh (two OTs) and Game 2 vs. Chicago – and lowest of lows – Game 4 vs. New York and Game 1 vs. Chicago (three OTs).
The NHL has to be psyched about how these first two games played out: overtime wins for both in two excellent American NHL markets leading to stellar ratings and more interest in the Finals than they’ve experienced in a long time. Factoring in the extra sessions, the Bruins and Blackhawks have basically played 10 periods (the equivalent of three regulation games and an extra period) and both teams have scored five goals apiece. One of the best stats so far: the winning squad never led until they ended it in overtime. It’s easy to expect this series to go back and forth the rest of the way. With Tuukka Rask (13-5, .944 save percentage, 1.73 goals against average) and Corey Crawford (13-6, .935 save percentage, 1.72 goals against average) both playing at such a high level, it’s hard to imagine either guy cracking.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate