Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs - Game Four

Bruins’ leaders deliver Stanley Cup Final speech

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Something needed to be said.

The Boston Bruins were thoroughly outplayed in the first period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday. And yet, they found themselves down a goal, after the Chicago Blackhawks registered 19 shots on goalie Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins, already trailing 1-0 in the best-of-seven series, had just four shots on net. Not good enough.

It was after the opening 20 minutes that the veterans in the locker room spoke up.

“It was really a mix of everybody saying something,” Bruins’ forward Tyler Seguin told reporters on Sunday.

“Obviously I think (Chris Kelly) was one of the most vocal guys at the time. But in the end, I think it was a mix of everyone. I definitely knew it was coming, so I definitely threw my shoulder pads in the training room and put a towel over it so no one could hear what we were saying. I think we needed that team wake-up call.”

The Bruins came out in the second period, with Kelly scoring the equalizer. And the Blackhawks were held to just 15 shots on Rask for the remainder of the game.

Daniel Paille scored the winner in overtime, and the Bruins tied the series at 1-1, as it shifts back to Boston.

Toews: ‘Hawks didn’t make Bruins earn Game 2 win

toewsmuttongetty
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In eight career Stanley Cup Final games, Jonathan Toews has zero goals. He also only has one goal in 19 contests during the 2013 postseason.

Those are the kind of numbers that will encourage pundits to throw around terms like “gripping the stick too tight.”

While the advanced stats imply that the Chicago Blackhawks captain is putting up a commendable effort, facing the Boston Bruins through two pointless games must be getting on his nerves. He provided a bigger picture take on his team’s frustration after a 2-1 OT loss in Game 2, as the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc reports.

“We just kind of let them play their way and we didn’t make them earn it,” Toews said. “That’s a little disappointing.”

The 25-year-old’s thoughts seemed to ape those of head coach Joel Quenneville, who felt that the Blackhawks played into the Bruins’ hands after a strong opening period.

Whether you attribute his struggles to bad bounces or a deeper problem, the critiques are only going to get louder if Toews doesn’t start scoring.

To be fair, he wasn’t the only one, especially in overtime. Brent Seabrook’s sentiment to CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers was likely shared by the rest of the locker room.

“I don’t think we played well enough to win that one in overtime at all,” Seabrook said.

Toews and his team need to get back on track as the series shifts to Boston.

Julien: Seguin-Kelly-Paille line ‘huge’ for Bruins

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Claude Julien found a bit of magic on Saturday night, courtesy a new-look line.

The Bruins head coach put struggling winger Tyler Seguin on a line with Chris Kelly and Daniel Paille, and the trio combined for four points and both goals in a 2-1 OT victory over Chicago at the United Center.

“I put those three guys together, and they answered,” Julien said. “That line came up huge for us tonight.”

The unit was something of a reclamation project.

Kelly came into the night pointless through 17 games this postseason with an ugly minus-9 rating, but scored Boston’s first goal and was on the ice for Paille’s game-winner.

“I think he’s been snakebit for quite a while,” Julien said of Kelly. “When you don’t score, eventually you get scored on and the minuses keep creeping up. That was certainly something that bothered him.”

“Tonight’s a good night for him.”

Paille was something of a turnaround story as well. The 29-year-old winger hadn’t scored in seven straight games heading into Saturday’s affair, but came up huge in overtime.

“Dan skated well tonight,” said Julien. “His forecheck created turnovers, and he was also a lot stronger on the puck. That was a great shot by him [in OT].”

Paille set the tone in the second period with an outstanding move to elude Nick Leddy and set up Kelly for the equalizer.

Seguin, the Bruins’ leading scorer from a year ago, has struggled to find his groove this postseason (just one goal, five points) and has moved all over the lineup.

He replaced Nathan Horton on the “HuLK” line in overtime of Game 1 after Horton was hurt, and started Game 2 with Rich Peverley and Kaspars Daugavins.

Nothing worked — until he was put with Kelly and Paille.

It’s a big development for Boston and one that could be a momentum-changer in this series. If the Bruins are able to roll three lines confidently as this series goes on, it’ll compensate for the loss of the “Merlot Line” that was so effective in the Eastern Conference semis against the Rangers.

Playoffs tonight: Can the Bruins answer back in Game 2?

Michael Jordan, Jonathan Toews
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Wednesday night’s Game 1 was an incredible thriller. Can Game 2 live up to that hype or are we in store for a tighter game?

Game 2: Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8 p.m. ET — NBCSN/Live Extra)
Chicago leads series 1-0

After the triple-overtime epic that was Game 1, the pressure is on the Boston Bruins to see if they can bounce back from such a tough loss. Unfortunately, they head into Game 2 with some looming questions.

The main worry is the health of Nathan Horton. The big forward left Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury, one that’s reportedly nagged him all playoffs, but after practicing yesterday it looks like he could go. If his issue is a chronic dislocated shoulder, however, that could be a major problem as it can reoccur at any time. (Update: Horton will play Game 2)

That shifts the questions to the play of Tyler Seguin. Seguin has popped off a lot of shots in the postseason and has just one goal to his name. If he’s needed in a larger role tonight, can he be a difference maker? Boston might need him to be that no matter what.

This isn’t all about the Bruins, of course. After taking Game 1, Chicago seemed to be clicking pretty well. They dominated in puck possession and outshot the Bruins by a wide margin. Is there anything that really needs to be adjusted? Coach Joel Quenneville might tell you the power play could use work after it did a miserable job of generating scoring chances in Game 1.

The difference maker tonight, however, could be Corey Crawford who the Blackhawks couldn’t rave over hard enough after Game 1. Throw in captain Jonathan Toews’ endorsement for Crawford to be Team Canada’s goalie at the Olympics and it’s a full-on love fest in the Windy City.

This is where we remind you that Tuukka Rask has been equally outstanding for Boston and we should expect more of the same stellar goaltending we saw in Game 1 from both players.

Game 1 mistake won’t deter Bruins rookie Krug

Torey Krug
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Boston’s Torey Krug has been huge for the Bruins’ success this postseason. Last night, however, it was his “terrible turnover” that turned into the game-winning goal in triple-overtime.

Krug faced the music at today’s off-day press conference and said if he had to do it all over again, he’d do it pretty much the same way.

“I’d probably try again in the future. I would just execute it differently,” he said. “For me, playing that way, you have to have a short-term memory. I think the best players do. I’ll quickly forget about it. I’ll learn from it.”

Bruins coach Claude Julien certainly hopes he will, but he won’t throw him under the bus for his mistake.

“It’s easy to focus in on one thing,” Julien said. “Yes, it was a mistake  to throw that puck up the middle. If you look back at the play, I didn’t think we had a great line change and he didn’t have a ton of options. I think there could be some blame shared on that goal.”

If the Bruins are going to even things up in Game 2, they’ll need everyone to be sharper.