The Bruins lost the opener when Dave Bolland’s tip went off Andrew Shaw’s leg and past Rask for the winning score. They also blew a 3-1 third-period lead in that one, but seemed to have no problem putting the loss behind them that night.
After all, the same core group of Bruins dropped the first two games of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver and came back to win. They trailed 4-1 in the third period of Game 7 against Toronto in this postseason and came back to win.
It’s a spirit that runs hand in hand with their home city these days. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Bruins talked about wanting to do something for the city, and they took another step toward that goal in Game 2.
“We’re excited to come away with a win. But it’s only 1-1,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “It’s a long series. We have to start focusing on the next game, and start better.”
The Bruins‘ final push was a stark contrast to the beginning of the game, with the Blackhawks looking refreshed during a dominant first period. The Bruins looked tired and slow, except for Rask, and he was enough to keep it close.
Rask turned away numerous prime opportunities for Chicago, but Sharp managed to score while the goaltender contended with a pile of bodies in front of the net. It was his ninth playoff goal, breaking a tie with Bryan Bickell for the team lead and matching Boston center David Krejci for the NHL’s best total.
A few minutes later, Marian Hossa pushed Rask’s pads and the puck just over the red line in goal. But the officials ruled the play had been whistled dead before the score.
“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.”
When the first period was over, the Blackhawks had 19 shots on goal. Sharp (six) and Hossa (five) each had more shots than Boston had as a team (four).
“I think we were angry,” Seguin said. “We were motivated. I think the guys just weren’t happy in here. We knew we could be better. We were making mental mistakes.”
Boston began to control the action in the second, leading to the tying score.
Kelly’s first playoff goal since April 12, 2012, against Washington and No. 11 for his career ended Boston’s scoreless stretch of 1 hour, 40 minutes and 57 seconds dating to the third period of the opener.
“It’s like the second period, I thought we lost the pace of the game on that end of the rink,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We had the perfect start to the game, then we stopped doing what made us successful. We stood around. They countered.”