What a difference a few days can make.
The Bruins showed what they’re all about Saturday night as they won Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, 2-1, in overtime on Daniel Paille’s first career OT-winner at 13:48. Chicago played great for the first half of the game but Tuukka Rask (33 saves) kept Boston in it and eventually his teammates joined him. The Bruins earned the split at United Center and they return to TD Garden on Monday (8 p.m., NBCSN) for Game 3 with the series tied 1-1. The win also ensures that there will be a game back in Chicago next Saturday for Game 5.
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Chicago's Patrick Sharp scored his ninth goal (tied with David Krejci for NHL lead) of the postseason at 11:22 in the first period after a huge scramble. Rask made a bunch of saves but Sharp was able to roof it on a turnaround shot. Rask stood on his head for the rest of the frame as the Blackhawks outshot the Bruins 19-4 but only led 1-0. The momentum started to shift as Chris Kelly tied it at 5:02 of the second period with his first goal of the playoffs. Paille had the lone assist on Kelly’s goal - foreshadowing as he received the first star for the game.
Boston carried the play from that point on. Brad Marchand hit the post on a shorthand bid from Paille. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (26 saves) started to see much more action and he rose to the challenge. He had good saves on Marchand and Krejci before it went to overtime for the second straight game (second year in a row in the Final; fourth all-time).
The Bruins outshot the Blackhawks in the last two periods then also in overtime. Jaromir Jagr continues to be snakebitten, for the second consecutive game he hit the post in overtime. Kelly had a chance to end it and Bergeron’s one-timer challenged Crawford. Adam McQuaid started the winning play by pinching along the boards to keep the puck in then Seguin hit Paille with a great pass. Paille’s shot went off the inside of the post and in.
What they'll be saying: Call it a hunch but Bruins head coach Claude Julien certainly knows his team in and out. They didn’t start Game 2 together but Julien put Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Tyler Seguin on the same line Saturday and they rewarded him as each guy played arguably his best game of the playoffs. All postseason Boston has been looking for any type of production from the third line so this is better late than never especially if it continues for the rest of the series. By improving to 6-3 on the road in the playoffs, the B’s got their most important road win thus far. Boston also set a franchise record with their fifth overtime victory of this postseason, they have at least one in each round: two vs. Maple Leafs, one vs. Rangers, one vs. Penguins & one vs. Blackhawks.
A strange note from the first two games is that the winning team in both instances hasn’t led during the game, rather they’ve scored overtime winners. After all four Blackhawks goals in Game 1 were scored by role players, the Bruins had both goals in Game 2 from bottom-six forwards. Chicago’s power play (0-for-6 through two games) is as bad as advertised. There have been roughly 10 periods of action and both teams have scored five goals. In other words, as we suspected, very little seems to separate these squads.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate