Daniel Paille scored at 13 minutes, 48 seconds of overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday that knotted the NHL Stanley Cup finals at one game apiece.
After Chicago triumphed in a triple-overtime Game 1 marathon, the Bruins turned the tables to pull level in the best-of-seven championship series, which shifts to Boston for Game 3 today.
The series marks the first time that two of the NHL’s Original Six franchises have met in the Stanley Cup finals since 1979, when Montreal defeated the New York Rangers in five games.
The failure of Chicago’s Brandon Bollig to handle a wraparound from behind the Chicago net along the right boards opened the door for the Bruins in this one.
Boston’s Adam McQuaid pushed the puck down to Tyler Seguin, who fired the puck to the slot, where Paille ripped it into the right corner for the victory.
The Bruins, comprehensively out-played in the first period, had erased an early one-goal deficit, Chris Kelly tying the game late in the second period with his first goal of the playoffs, which Paille helped create.
“I thought Paille played extremely well the whole night,” Kelly said. “His goal, great pass by Seguin. I thought both of them played extremely well. Their feet were moving the whole night.”
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 33 saves, including 18 in a first period dominated by the Blackhawks.
“If you look at our game, I thought the first period, we just weren’t there,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We were on our heels, and they had total control of that period.”
“We were just throwing pucks out of our own end, we weren’t making plays,” he added. “We were standing still in our own end, they were moving the puck around us. We were not ready to play.”
Even so, Chicago emerged from the first with just a 1-0 lead, thanks to Patrick Sharp’s goal midway through the first.
Patrick Kane got the sequence started, flying in from the right to get a backhander on net, then trying again with his own rebound.
That began a flurry that saw Rask make two more saves, but Sharp chased down the puck at the right circle, and his turnaround shot made it past Rask.
“We definitely were in survival mode there for a bit,” Rask said. “It looked like they had more guys out there than we did. They were bouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances. We definitely played pretty bad, but, you know, it was good that we were only down by one and regrouped after that.”
The Bruins stepped it up in the second, with Kelly getting the equalizer with 5:02 left in the period.
Paille made a nice move behind the Chicago net to get around a defender and tried a wraparound that was stopped by Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, but the rebound came out front and Kelly buried it.
Kelly said the entire Bruins team knew after the first period they would have to do better.
“If it wasn’t for Tuukka, it would have been a lot worse,” he said. “I think we all knew we had to go out and play better.”
Chicago had won the series opener 4-3 in the third overtime, after rallying from a two-goal deficit in the third period, but they could not produce similar magic late in this one.
Crawford, who finished with 26 saves, at least managed to send it to overtime, thwarting several Boston chances in the third.
The game nearly ended just one-and-a-half minutes into overtime as Jaromir Jagr beat Crawford with a wrister, but it hit the crossbar and stayed out.