Haggerty: Five thoughts from the second period

Haggerty: Five thoughts from the second period
January 19, 2014, 1:30 pm
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CHICAGO -- Here are five thoughts from an entertaining second period, with the Bruins and Blackhawks locked in a 2-2 tie after the first 40 minutes of play at the United Center.

1) It was a much more deliberate pace in the second period, and that favored the Bruins. The first period favored Chicago, and the second period was definitely a nod to Boston. Will be interesting to see what happens in the third.

2) Two goals for Brad Marchand as he completely schooled Corey Crawford with a shot fake before aiming the puck through the five hole once it opened up for him. It appeared that Reilly Smith made the sweet cross-ice pass to Marchand for the goal, and a scoring chance finally did give it to the right winger. Big day for Marchand after he finished with zero points and a minus-3 in the six games vs. Chicago last year in the Cup Final.

3) Tough day for the Kevan Miller/Torey Krug pairing, who have been hemmed in their own zone quite a bit. Miller was planted by Brandon Bollig with the puck tied up in his equipment in the first period, and had Krug and Milan Lucic come to his defense. Bollig didn’t really shrink down until Lucic came calling for him, and then the courage subsided.

4) Soft, soft goal given up by Tuukka Rask on a bad angle Bollig shot that squirted through his body on the near post. It was slightly deflected and rolled up his pad, but Rask needs to use his entire body to shut down the near post on those chances. It’s just lazy technique and a soft goal.

5) Aside from the early play when Zdeno Chara was caught up ice, he’s been pretty good today. A plus-1 rating with four hits in 17:16 of ice time, and not too many Blackhawks offensive shenanigans when he’s been out there.

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Here are five thoughts from an entertaining first period, with the Bruins and Blackhawks locked in a 1-1 tie after the first 20 minutes of play at the United Center. 

1) Bruins coach Claude Julien talked about wanting to “put on a show” with the Blackhawks on Sunday morning/afternoon -- the game started at 11:30 a.m. local time -- and the Bruins have absolutely done that in the first period. Shots were 15-12 in favor of the Blackhawks and they really pushed the pace for most of the game, but the Bruins managed to score right before the end of the first period to steal the game’s momentum. Plenty of hard, clean hits, great offensive chances and big saves from the goaltenders.

2) Great first period for Brad Marchand, who evened things up with a fantastic shift at the end of the first period. He won a puck battle along the boards in the neutral zone, passed to Patrice Bergeron and then collected a brilliant return pass from Bergeron for a top-shelf shot to the blocker side. The score came with only 19 seconds left in the period, and acted like a gut punch to the Blackhawks. 

3) The Bruins are giving up a lot of good chances to the Blackhawks. There were 15 shots by Chicago, including one dazzling spin move by Patrick Kane on Matt Bartkowski into a perfect setup for Brandon Saad right at the doorstep. When Zdeno Chara isn’t on the ice, the Blackhawks look more like the Globetrotters. 

4) The Blackhawks even look pretty good when Chara is on the ice. He pinched on a play with David Krejci attacking the Chicago net, and that turned into a Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa odd-man rush going in the other direction. Chara was completely out of the play, and Krejci was late covering Hossa as he sped down the ice. Lackluster defense against the Blackhawks will turn any team into road kill, including the Bruins.

5) No penalties for the Bruins and Blackhawks in the first period. Good, hard, clean hockey at the highest level.