|Posted on June 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM|
And just like that -- the Boston Bruins are back in the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.
Proving these teams are ridiculously even -- and that overtime periods could become the norm in this series -- the Bruins' Daniel Paille scored at the 13:48 mark in overtime to give the Bruins a much-needed victory in Chicago Saturday night.
After a disastrous Game 1, where they blew a two-goal lead in the third period (only the third team to do that in the Stanley Cup Finals), the Bruins proved there weren't any emotional side effects left lingering in Game 2.
"We just kept the pressure on and Seggy [Tyler Seguin] threw the puck to me," said Paille, who beat Chicago's Corey Crawford. "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 [Seguin] made a good play passing it over instead of shooting."
While fans were treated to another night of overtime hockey, the game didn't journey nearly as far as Game 1, which became the 5th longest Stanley Cup Finals game in NHL history.
That doesn't mean the game lacked drama. Boston's Tuukka Rask turned in a classic night of goaltending -- and emotions flared when Chicago had a goal nullified. The referees controversially ruled a play dead prior to the puck entering Rask's net -- and let's just say Chicago had a differing viewpoint.
"I thought the whistle was a little quick, but that's the way it is," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "It's frustrating when the bounces don't go your way, but it is what it is."
The Bruins looked sluggish early -- but then found a way to pull out a critical victory.
"We got rewarded because I thought from the second period on, we were a good team, a better team, and by the end I thought we had more chances," Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Knotted at 1-game apiece, the series now shifts back to Boston.
Paille's game-winner was also a great reminder of just how random hockey can be. The difference between winning and losing, especially in the playoffs, is razor thin. If Paille doesn't score and the Blackhawks get a greasy goal (like they did in Game 1 of the series), Chicago would own a commanding 2-0 series lead.
But those are just what-ifs at this point. And we all know what-ifs don't earn Stanley Cup titles.
NOTES: Just as a side note to this series, anybody else notice how the Chicago Blackhawks have "Stanley Cup Final" etched into the ice at the United Center? I'm no English professor, but I'm pretty sure it should be Stanley Cup Finals. Note the "s" in Finals. If it was just one game, then it's a "Final." But, uh, it's not just one game. Last time we checked, there were multiple games -- so the word "Final" is incorrect. Suggestion for the Blackhawks: Let's bust out some blue paint and get that corrected the next time the "Finals" roll back into the Madhouse on Madison.
Blackhawks win instant classic in Game 1, top Bruins in 3OT