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Bolland back in big time vs. Bruins

Dave Bollbeats Bruins goalie TuukkRask third period Game 1 Wednesday. Bolland’s goal cut Bruins’ lead 3-2. He also had an

Dave Bolland beats Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the third period of Game 1 on Wednesday. Bolland’s goal cut the Bruins’ lead to 3-2. He also had an assist on the game-winner. | AP

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GAME 1

at Hawks 4

Bruins (3OT) 3

GAME 2

7 p.m. Saturday

at Hawks, NBCSN

GAME 3

7 p.m. Monday

at Bruins, NBCSN

GAME 4

7 p.m. Wednesday

at Bruins, Ch. 5

GAME 5 if necessary

7 p.m. June 22

at Hawks, Ch. 5

GAME 6 if necessary

7 p.m. June 24

at Bruins, Ch. 5

GAME 7 if necessary

7 p.m. June 26

at Hawks, Ch. 5

Scoring a big goal, getting a piece of the game-winner, delivering a few big hits, saving a couple of goals with his backchecking — Dave Bolland looked like his old self in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Felt like it, too.

“Things weren’t going that well,” Bolland said of his difficult postseason. “But I just battled through. I’m getting back to my old game.”

Bolland, always a player who prided himself on coming up big on the biggest stage, hadn’t been much of a factor in the last two series. Perhaps still feeling the effects of a lingering groin injury suffered April 22 at Vancouver, he looked nothing like the infamous “Rat” who drove opponents batty in recent playoffs.

But he clearly had life in his legs after getting bumped up from the fourth line to the third and skating alongside the “Rat”-like Andrew Shaw for Game 1 against the Bruins. Bolland played more than 28 minutes and was a force at both ends of the ice. He one-timed a Shaw pass past Tuukka Rask to score his first playoff goal and spark the Blackhawks’ third-period comeback, and he deflected Michal Rozsival’s shot from the point in triple overtime before Shaw tipped it again for the game-winning goal.

And he saved the game eight minutes into overtime, clearing a Rich Peverley rebound out of the crease right before Kaspars Daugavins could nudge it into a wide-open net.

Coach Joel Quenneville said Bolland has gotten better every game. Teammate and former linemate Patrick Kane agreed.

“The thing about Bolland is, you always see him step up in big games,” Kane said. “We’ve been accustomed to him showing up in those big games. It was good to see.”



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