Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals showed just how much of an even match the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks can be. Unlike Game 1’s high scoring from both the Bruins and the Hawks, the Hawks capitalized on a very tired Bruins squad early on the in the game, crashing the net and giving Patrick Sharp a clear shot at the net while Tuukka Rask was down. For a majority of the first and second periods in Game 2, the Boston Bruins played sluggish hockey, obviously showing wear from Game 1’s collapse and three overtimes.
In the post-game press conference following Game 2, Claude Julien talked about his tired squad
“If you look at our game, the first period we weren’t there and we were on our heels and they [Blackhawks] had total control.” “We got better as the game went on and in overtime I thought there’s no doubt that was our best period.” “Like I told our guys, we have to show up on time for these kind of games.”
When asked about switching up his lines and putting the Paille – Kelly – Seguin line on the ice for the third period, Claude responded: “It’s a hunch from a coach. I know Dan is a great skater, can make a lot of things happen. Seguin after the first period was one of the guys that picked up his game. Kelly was one of the guys that was good right from the start. I put those three guys together and they answered.”
Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, and Tyler Seguin have all been slow to start in these playoffs, but in Game 2 the trio came together to give the Bruins some explosive offense and generated the team’s best scoring chances of the night. The team started a very slow paces being heavily out shot through the first and second periods, but by the time the end of the second rolled around the Bruins were able to make a great defensive shift in their game leaving the heroics to the Paille – Kelly – Seguin line.
Someone who should not be over looked in all of this is Tuukka Rask. Game 2 was another game where he stood on his head and kept his team a live ,something he did in Game’s 3 and 4 of the Penguins series and gave his team the chance to win Game 2. Rask stopped 33 of 34 shots faced and won the second star honor for his .971 SV% and 1.00 GAA. Crawford wasn’t a slouch either, despite not having to stop a lot of shots he let in 2 goals on 28 shots posting only a .929 SV% to Rask’s .971. Both goalies kept their team in it and hats off to the two net minders for their terrific play in the game.
Game 3 however will be a different story, with the hometown crowd behind the Bruins giving them all the energy they need, the Bruins have the chance now to break out of their shell and return to their high scoring game they played in Game 2 of the Penguins series and even what we saw in Game 1 of the Finals. The biggest mistake the Bruins made in Game 1 was sitting back on their lead and letting the Blackhawks walk all over them. The team cannot afford to make mistakes like that and with the new third line showing promise and Rask getting back on his hot game, the Bruins should have no problem against the Hawks on Monday.
Another thing to look out for during Game 3 is the rejuvenated Jaromir Jagr and Milan Lucic. Lucic has become a very vocal leader and his heavy hitting in Game 2 certainly changed the momentum shift to Boston. Jagr has had his shots on goal and has been coming closer and closer to scoring, his best chance came in Game 2 however it rang the crossbar, much to the dismay of Jagr. But his play has certainly stepped up and playing with Bergeron and Marchand has given him a little light, look out for him in Game 3 to make a huge impact.
Game 3 is set for Monday, June 16th at 8:00 PM (EST)