Game 2 preview: Three-OT thriller helped Hawks, Bruins get to know each other better
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2013 9:24PM
2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One
Updated: July 16, 2013 6:32AM
As epic as it was, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Blackhawks and Bruins was barely a start — one long introduction between teams that had not played the other in nearly two years.
After two days of physical and mental recovery following the Blackhawks’ 4-3 triple-overtime victory, the Blackhawks and Bruins head into Game 2 on Saturday night at the United Center with much greater familiarity.
‘‘I know we were talking about not trying to get a feel for them and play our game, but maybe that happened for both teams — where you have to get a little bit of a feel for what they do,’’ Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford said Friday after the Hawks practiced at the United Center. ‘‘They’re a good team. They’re here for a reason. They’ve been playing a lot of great hockey, and they played well last game. We’re going to have to battle for everything.’’
The Blackhawks came out hitting in Game 1 and were burned when David Krejci avoided the brunt of a hit by defensman Niklas Hjalmarsson, which led to a Milan Lucic’s opening goal on a point-blank opportunity in front of the net.
‘‘You want to show that physical presence and show that you can be that tough and throw your body around,’’ forward Dave Bolland said. ‘‘Maybe we got a little carried away at the start.’’
Coaches in the NHL are much less obsessive than NFL coaches are about what the opponent does and what the opponent knows about what they do — all NHL practices are open to the media. But Game 2 could be more strategy-based because of the new-found familiarity.
‘‘The first game we didn’t know what to expect from each other, but now we know a little bit more,’’ Hawks forward Michael Frolik said. ‘‘There are going to be a few adjustments. But we don’t want to change that much.’’
What did the Hawks learn about the Bruins in Game 1?
‘‘They play with the puck well. That’s different from the West teams,’’ Frolik said. ‘‘The West teams are more simple — just put the puck deep. [The Bruins’] skill guys can make some plays They really play well with the puck and have good patience with the puck.
‘‘We have to be careful with that. Don’t give up 2-on-2s and 2-on-1s like we did last game a few times. That can kill you. Other than that, it’s going to be a better second game.’’
The other factor for the Hawks is the inevitable response from the Bruins after a frustrating loss in which they led 3-1 with eight minutes left in regulation and had several chances to win in overtime.
Since 2006, teams that have lost in double-overtime or beyond in the Stanley Cup playoffs are 16-7 in the following game, 7-7 on the road.
And ultimately, both teams feel it comes down to what they do, not the opponent.
‘‘We gotta move our feet a little bit better,’’ Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘Early in the game we didn’t quite have the speed to our game and the energy, and we gave them a little too much space. We were always late getting the pucks, especially on that first goal by Lucic. It was just one guy after the other kind of swiping from our stick. Two great plays to get that empty-netter. It’s just an example of how we need to be more alert and better positioned and given that open space.’’