Bruins Bring Madness to a Halt

The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks have now traded games in which the other team should’ve won. In Game 1 superstar David Krejčí had two assists and gave his team a 2-0 advantage. That lead evolved into an eventual 3-1 lead with less than 14 minutes to go in the game. The Bruins offense was clicking and the Blackhawks had no answer. Uncharacteristically the Bruins would relinquish its lead and the game would eventually go into overtime not once, not twice, but three times until Andrew Shaw tipped home a shot from the point that would give the Hawks a surprising win. This game should’ve perhaps smelled doom for the Bruins, especially considering how they carried the play for most of the game, but it didn’t. The Bruins seemed to get over it as fast as a Cubs loss.

Turn the page to Game 2 and the Hawks seemed to know they’d stolen one from the mighty Bruins. The Hawks came out flying. They pelted Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask with 19 shots in the first period. Rask was a brick wall and only allowed one of those shots to get to the back of his net. Rusk’s solid play took the wind out of the Hawks’ sails and gave lift to the Bruins who must have entered the locker room during the first intermission convinced that the gods were with them. With this confidence, the Bruins held Chicago to just 15 shots on net for the rest of the game with nothing getting by.

The Bruins simply steamrolled Chicago both physically and opportunistically. In the second period, Chris Kelly drove hard to the net for a rebound that resulted in his first goal since April 17th, and his first of the playoffs. Claude Julien made an in-game adjustment that brought together the seemingly unstoppable line of Kelly-Paille-Seguin. This line would eventually contribute to the GWG by Daniel Paille who – although a fourth line winger – was a former first round pick of the Buffalo Sabres and an undervalued skill player. The Bruins stemmed the tide early in the second and just wore the Blackhawks down by the end of the game. So much so that the Bruins were starting to do to the Hawks in overtime what was done to them in the first.

Corey Crawford has been amazing this series, and while I’ve totally bashed him for not proving anything to me thus far, I must tip my cap to the kid. He’s been phenomenal. I’m giving his due now on the record so everyone knows I’m eating my earlier misspent words.

The Boston Bruins and, more importantly, Tuukka Rask stole one out of the “Madhouse on Madison”. Tuukka was relegated to holding down the fort because the rest of the Bruins didn’t start playing until the second period on Saturday. The Hawks had their chance early and often, but it was because the deficit was only one after one that the Bruins were taken off life support in the Finals. By handing Chicago only its second loss on Madison Street this postseason, Boston now miraculously possess home-ice advantage.

Three of the next five games will be at the TD Garden. To say the Blackhakws will have to be at their best is an understatement. The Bruins don’t have to come back to Chicago for a week, and they will get to make last change at home, which is so critical in a serious of this magnitude. David Krejčí will get the defensive pairings he wants, which is going to slow down Chicago’s vaunted attack. Krejčí had two assists in Game 1 and has been a plus player on the road throughout the postseason. Now at home he’ll get to see the likes of Oduya and Hjalmarsson who’ve been absolutely atrocious thus far. So much so that whenever #4 and #27 are out there, you could see the top line matchup by Julien. Joel Quennville has to be able to get through to these two, because unless Keith and Seabrook are out there the Bruins have been able to have dinner parties in the offensive zone. Furthermore, Chara will now get to rest and play far fewer minutes because he’ll only be out there on power plays and when Patrick Kane gets shifted.

Speaking of power plays, the Hawks don’t have one. They play much better at equal strength, and might benefit by asking if Boston’s penalties could be served doing community service after the game.

The TD Garden may not be the “Madhouse on Madison” but it’s not Nationwide Arena either. The Blackhawks are 3-4 in their road games this postseason. The Bruins have scored a combined 17 Stanley Cup goals at home dating back to the 2011 Finals. Corey Crawford has given up 5 goals in his home stadium where Quennville was able to get the match-ups he’s wanted. For the next two games Crawford’s gonna have to become Patrick Roy, because he’s gonna be in a for a major shock when he sees how hard the Bruins are gonna come for him. Mr. Crawford you’ve been great thus far, but you’re going to have to superhuman in order to not get the gate, ask “Bobby Lou”.

Game 3 on Monday!