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Bruins even series with 2-1 OT victory over Blackhawks in Game 2

Updated: June 17, 2013 9:48AM



This time, the Blackhawks didn’t come out trying to be something they’re not. They didn’t run around hitting everything that moved. They didn’t try to out-Bruin the Bruins. This time, they raced down the ice with speed. They swarmed the Boston goal. They fired away freely. They held on to the puck and wouldn’t let the Bruins touch it.

In short, they played Hawks hockey, the kind that rocketed them to the best start in NHL history, the kind that earned them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs and home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.

But they only did it for one period. And against Tuukka Rask, that wasn’t enough.

Despite an utterly dominant, dream start, the Hawks lost 2-1 in Game 2 to the Bruins on Saturday night. Daniel Paille’s goal with 6:12 left in overtime — the 10th period of the series, the 15th period in the Hawks’ last three games — evened the series at 1-1. Paille took a Tyler Seguin pass and ripped it off the post and past Corey Crawford for the game-winner. The goal was precipitated by a Brandon Bollig turnover in the corner.

The series now shifts to Boston for Monday’s Game 3, with the Hawks now having to win at least one road game to win the Stanley Cup.

“No one said it was going to be easy,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “No one said everything was going to go our way. Some moments, you feel pretty darn good, like when we won Game 1 in triple overtime, and tonight it doesn’t feel good. You’ve got to find a way to get over it.”

What made the loss so frustrating for the Hawks was how well they played in the first period. They peppered Rask with high-quality chances throughout. By the end of the period, the Hawks had a 19-4 lead in shots. They had attempted 30 shots, the Bruins a measly five. Patrick Sharp (six) and Marian Hossa (five) each outshot the entire Bruins roster on his own.

Yet after that period — about as well as the Hawks can possibly play — they found themselves up just 1-0, on Sharp’s goal 11:22 into the period. And even that one came after Rask made four spectacular saves in a flurry, before Sharp tracked down a rebound to the right circle, wheeled and fired through traffic, with Michal Handzus clogging the crease.

It very well could have been 2-0, but the Hawks had a goal disallowed 70 seconds after Sharp’s goal. Marian Hossa pushed Rask’s pads and the puck across the goal line, but the play was reviewed, and the league ruled that referee Wes McCauley had blown the play dead a fraction of a second before it crossed.

So even with a lead, the Hawks entered the intermission feeling frustrated, while the Bruins felt fortunate.

“We definitely were in survival mode there for a bit,” said Rask, who finished with 33 saves. “It looked like they had more guys out there than we did. We definitely played pretty bad. It was good that we were only down by one.”

During the break, Boston regrouped, and refocused on the team defense and physical play that brought it to the Final in the first place. The Hawks mustered just nine shots over the next two periods, with the Bruins tying the game 1-1 with 5:02 left in the second, when Chris Kelly smacked in a rebound of a Paille wrap-around attempt.

“We talked for a couple days about attacking and funneling pucks to the net and using our speed as an advantage, and clearly we did that in the first period,” Sharp said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t sustain it throughout the game. That’s something I’m sure we’ll look at over the next few days.”

The third period was a bit of a slog — though Sharp insisted fatigue wasn’t a factor for either team — but overtime was once again wide open, as it was in Game 1 — Jaromir Jagr rang one off the post just 90 seconds in. Crawford (26 saves) and Rask were both solid as Sharp, David Krejci, Andrew Shaw and Milan Lucic traded golden scoring chances in succession.

But after firing 19 shots in the first 19 minutes of the game, the Hawks mustered just 15 over the final 55 minutes — their clinical first-period dismantling of the Bruins defense a distant memory, the enormity of the task ahead of them settling in.

“It’s frustrating, we would have liked to win it,” Sharp said. “But it’s a challenge. You’ve got to win four games, and it’s a race to get there. Both teams aren’t going to give up, that’s for sure. There’s no point hanging our heads, we need to regroup and be ready to go for next game.”



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