All Even: Hawks 1, Bruins 2 (OT) Series Tied 1-1
I have a problem. You see, I ride the train to work every day, and I cannot resist listening to sports radio. And so, for the last two days I've been listening to my good friend Barry Rozner (filling in for the vactioning Mike Mulligan) tell me that the Bruins are dead in the water, that Claude Julian is making excuses, that Tukka Rask is probably being burned in effigy by his own teammates and that this whole series is as good as over. As usual, Barry Rozner is a complete idiot. Then again, what more should I expect from a guy who dismisses everyone who disagrees with him with the phrase "you've clearly never played the game". Barry, playing rec league hockey with other old, fat, slow guys is NOT the same as playing the NHL. Please stop pretending that you've played the same game as say, Jonathan Toews, or even Akim Aliu. you haven't.
And naturally, the Bruins didn't completely implode and give up. Because you don't fucking reach the Stanley Cup Final and then pack it in after losing a single game. I think a lot of people are going to look back that this one and say the Hawks deserved to lose, but I think that's bullshit. The Hawks definitely had their chances to win this game early, and Tukka Rask and their terrible power play kept them from doing so. So it goes.
The First Period: The Hawks absolutely dominated the first 20 minutes of play. It was a vintage performance and if Chicago had been able to maintain it for the full 60 the game would have been won.
Patrick Sharp: Hockey's most handsome man came out on fire tonight, getting 7 shots on net and scoring Chicago's only goal.
Corey Crawford: The Bruins took play to the Hawks in the second and third periods and Crow made some outstanding plays to keep Chicago from losing this one in regulation.
Likewise on the other side...
Tukka Rask: Rask clearly wasn't feeling the effects of the triple overtime game. He was fucking brilliant, particularly in the 1st period.
Patrice Bergeron: He was everywhere. If I could take one player off the Bruins roster right now, it'd be this guy.
Power Play: and once again, this is where the game was lost. While Boston came back strong in the 2nd and 3rd periods, the Hawks had 3 power plays in this game and a goal on any of them would have likely given Chicago a regulation win. I'm not sure there's a solution, other than to hope that this unit is able to stumble into a couple of games worth of competence like they did against Detroit.
The Adventures of Johnny and Nik: they weren't on the ice for the Bruins goal (when Nick Leddy was victimized by Daniel Paille) but these two scared the hell out of me more than once. Leddy in particular seemed to have the yips, and at one point threw a blind pass into the middle of his own defensive zone with no Hawk in sight. Luckily Boston seemed to stunned to turn it into even a decent chance.
Brandon Bollig - Look, for the record, I am not hanging this loss on Bollig. I actually believe he'd been perfectly serviceable until what turned out to be the final shift in overtime tonight. But he fucked up on that shift and couldn't handle what should have been an easy clearing attempt, and it ended up in the back of the net for the game winning goal. My problem here is that I think Q's got at least 3 better options in the press box right now. Morin, Smith and yes, Viktor Stalberg are all better players than Bollig. And the way Kruger and Frolik are playing right now, I'd like to see somebody with a little more skill to round out that line, as they're definitely getting their chances to score.
Anyway, we're two games in and it's now a best of 5 series. Up next is Game 3 in Boston on Monday night. Until then, it's a long way down that Holiday Road.