CHICAGO – It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Especially in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins started Game 2 horribly – looking lackadaisical, sluggish, and playing with no real sense of urgency. They were outshot 19-4 in the first, but were lucky to head to the locker room down only 1-0 on Patrick Sharp’s goal 11:22 into the period.
But Boston managed to turn it on in the second period and the Black and Gold would eventually finish on top with a nail-biting, heart-stopping, 2-1 overtime win over the Blackhawks at the United Center Saturday night that tied the series at one game apiece.
Bruins winger Daniel Paille banged in the game winner on a feed from Tyler Seguin at 13:48 in overtime – the second straight game that went beyond regulation time – and red-hot goaltender Tuukka Rask turned in another stellar performance, making 33 saves in Game 2.
“We just kept the pressure on and [Seguin] threw the puck to me,” Paille said. “I just popped out and had to shoot the puck quick, get it off my stick. I was able to send it post low. He made a good play passing it over instead of shooting.”
Rask spoke about weathering the Blackhawks’ first-period storm that saw Chicago dominate with 30 shot attempts to the Bruins’ five.
“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 pouncing on every single puck in front of net, had a lot of chances. We definitely played pretty bad.
“But it was good that we were only down by one and regrouped after that.”
With 5:02 remaining in the second period, the B’s tied the game up 1-1 when Chris Kelly knocked in a rebound off a Paille shot.
Bruins coach Claude Julien spoke about the turnaround that started in that second period.
“If you look at our game, I thought the first period, we just weren’t there,” Julien said. “We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there. I thought the second, we started turning it around. Third, same thing. We got better as the game went on. Overtime, that was the best, had a lot of scoring chances there.
“Like I told our guys, we’ve got to show up on time for these kind of games. It could have cost us tonight.”
Julien talked about putting Paille, Kelly, and Seguin together and the spark the new third line provided to key the victory.
“We didn’t have much going,” Julien said. “At one point I thought that line would give us something. They responded well. Got both goals tonight. It’s a hunch from a coach. I know that Dan [Paille] 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.”
Kelly, who last scored on April 17 against the Capitals, spoke about Paille’s goal and how the new linemates worked together.
“I think on my goal it was a great five-guy effort,” Kelly said. “Andrew [Ference] made a pinch, Tyler was in on the play and got it to Daniel, and Daniel took it to the net. I just happened to be there, tapped it in.
“I thought Paille played extremely well the whole night. His goal, great pass by Seguin. I thought both of them played extremely well. Their feet were moving the whole night.”
Paille talked about the momentum shift that went Boston’s way after Chicago steamrolled them on the ice in the first period.
“I think we just stopped thinking and started playing and realized that we needed to help the team a little bit,” Paille said after netting the OT game winner. “I think that goes well into the game when you stop thinking and start playing with your natural abilities. I think [Seguin] started skating a lot more and I think [Kelly] and myself started to protect the puck. So that helped us out in the game.”
The Bruins peppered Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford throughout the overtime period, including Jaromir Jagr clanging a shot off the crossbar, causing the 41-year-old hockey legend to scream to the high heavens.
“I said, ‘God. Where are you?’ ” Jagr said in the locker room.
The former two-time Cup champion and former NHL MVP has not scored a goal in the postseason, last hitting the back of the net on April 21 against Florida. But Jagr showed a late burst of energy and seemed destined to turn on the red light Saturday night.
“That’s the way it is,” Jagr said. “I’ve got no problem with that if we keep winning. That would be kind of sad if we would lose the hockey game, but there is always next time because we won. I don’t worry about it right now.”
During the first intermission of Game 2, NBC Sports NHL analyst and former Bruin Mike Milbury took a shot at Jagr.
“He can’t skate in this series,” Milbury said on the air. “They gotta get him off of this line. If he can do something when he gets the puck standing still, fine. But he can’t forecheck, he can’t participate with this line. He turned the puck over repeatedly. He can’t get anything going here. They can’t sustain anything with him on this line.
“Absolutely lazy in a Stanley Cup Finals… That to me is a guy that is too tired to play in this final. That is a guy that has to be replaced.”
The Blackhawks are fully aware of the challenges they’ll when the series goes back to Boston for Game 3, Monday night at TD Garden.
“It’s a tough building to go in and win,” Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. “But there’s enough incentive on the line that we can muster up a good effort.”