CHICAGO – The Bruins took Chicago’s best punch, and did a lot more than just live to tell about it.
The Blackhawks started Game 2 with a frenzied attack Saturday night, outshooting the overwhelmed Bruins by a 19-4 margin. But an otherworldly Tuukka Rask held the fort, limiting Chicago to just one goal, and his teammates found their footing. They tied the game, forced overtime, and then got a goal from Daniel Paille at 13:48 of the first overtime period for a 2-1 victory Saturday night that tied the Stanley Cup Finals at one game each.
"It's huge," said Paille of the victory. "After we lost the first game, that was our main goal, to tie [the series]."
And his reaction after popping the game-winning goal off the post and into the net?
"Just relief," he said, "that the game was over and we were able to [go back to Boston] 1-1. I think everyone's happy with that result."
The series now heads back to Boston, with Game 3 scheduled for Monday night at TD Garden.
The Blackhawks' only first-period goal was a Patrick Sharp fourth-chance attempt, as Michael Handzus engaged in hand-to-hand combat in front of the net. It was one of six shots for Sharp in the first period as Chicago swarmed Boston with speed and aggression each time the B’s defensemen coughed up another turnover. They almost had another goal later in the period when Marian Hossa pushed Rask's pads and the puck just over the goal, but the officials ruled the play had been whistled dead before the score.
"We were in survival mode there for a bit," said Rask. "It looked like they had more guys out there than we did."
Rask stopped shot after shot in making 18 saves in the first 20 minutes, and several times made multiple saves in succession as the Blackhawks stormed an overwhelmed B’s defensemen corps a the Boston net.
"It was a pretty terrible period by our team," said Chris Kelly. "If it wasn't for Tuukka, it would have been a lot worse."
"If you look at our game, I thought the first period, we just weren't there," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there.
"Thankfully, our guys rewarded him with that effort by being a lot better in front of him for the rest of the game."
Boston picked itself off the mat in the second period and tied the score. Kelly scored his first point of the playoffs when he popped in the rebound of a Paille wraparound chance.
"[We] got rewarded because I thought from the second period on, we were a good team, [the] better team," said Julien. "And by the end I thought we had more chances."
One of those chances, by Jaromir Jagr, rang cleanly off the post early in the first overtime, and thoughts of another frustrating defeat began creeping into many minds.
But Paille's shot off the post deflected in, not away, and the Bruins got the split in Chicago they were looking for.