CHICAGO — These Boston Bruins are one resilient bunch.
Daniel Paille scored at 13:48 in overtime, and the Bruins beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Saturday night to even the Stanley Cup finals at a game apiece.
Three days after a three-overtime thriller in the series opener, Boston and Chicago once again were tied after regulation. The Bruins then stepped up the pressure and finally cashed in after goaltender Corey Crawford singlehandedly kept the Blackhawks in the game.
Brandon Bollig had a turnover in the Chicago end, and Paille sent a shot under Crawford’s glove and off the right post for his third goal of the playoffs, sending the Bruins back to Boston with the momentum ahead of Game 3 on Monday night.
Patrick Sharp scored for Chicago, which looked more and more gassed as the night wore on. Crawford made 26 saves in another terrific performance.
Paille also had an assist on Chris Kelly’s tying goal in the second, and Tuukka Rask had 18 of his 33 stops in the first period.
The first two games of last year’s Stanley Cup also went to overtime, with Los Angeles taking a 2-0 lead at New Jersey before going on to defeat the Devils in six games. Before last season, it had been 61 years since the first two games of the finals needed an extra period to decide the winner.
In that 1951 Stanley Cup, each of the five games went to overtime, with Toronto taking the series against Montreal. The way Chicago and Boston are playing, a repeat is certainly possible.
It was the third consecutive overtime game for the Blackhawks, who eliminated Los Angeles with a 4-3 victory in two overtimes in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, and then defeated Boston 4-3 in Wednesday night’s marathon. Chicago dropped to 4-2 during OT games in this year’s playoffs.