CHICAGO -- Need a new TV pilot? How about Survivor: Boston Bruins Edition.
The resilient Bruins have certainly overcome quite a bit in these playoffs, from a three-goal deficit in their Game 7 against Toronto in the first round to the injury wave that struck their defense to a crushing triple overtime defeat by the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. In Game 2, they survived perhaps their most daunting foe: the alarm clock that didn't go off in their collective consciousness for more than half the game.
No matter. It takes at least 60 minutes to bury the Bruins. On Saturday, they pulled off a remarkable triumph when unheralded Daniel Paille scored the winner at 13:48 of overtime to give them a 2-1 win that seemed out of their reach for much of the night. The Bruins should now be confident -- and the Hawks might be a bit concerned -- that they have the capacity to win despite not playing their best game, maybe even one that is close to their worst.
"We were not good enough in the first 20 minutes, really the first 30," said Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "This is not the way you want to win a hockey game, but we weren't putting up much of a fight."
Chicago had Boston outshot in the early going by a margin of 23-6. In the first period, during which the Bruins managed just four, Chicago's Marian Hossa took five and Patrick Sharp six. But the Hawks had only a goal by Sharp, at 11:22 of the first, to show for their dominance. Chicago's lone goal of the night was more of a group pummeling than a single good punch. After a four-save sequence by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, Sharp scored from a bad angle through Bryan Bickell's screen.
Even scarier for Chicago, Rask was playing like the impenetrable wall that stopped the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. For swaths of time, the Bruins could neither get out of their own zone nor their own way, but Rask was there to save them. He stopped Michael Frolik's backhander, Chicago's first shot of the second period, with his mask.
"We knew we could play better," said Bruins forward Tyler Seguin, who assisted on the winning goal. "We were making mental mistakes in the first period, and we just don't do that. We knew it wasn't going to last all night. We just needed one play. We're too good mentally to stay down for that long."
The play happened with just over five minutes left in the second period. On the doorstep, Chris Kelly put in a loose puck for his first goal of the playoffs. Either Sharp or Patrick Kane could have made a stronger play on Kelly or the puck.
"I thought we lost the pace of the game on that end of the rink," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "We had the perfect start to the game, then we stopped doing what made us successful. We stood around. They countered."
In countering, Boston upped its forechecking effort, sacrificing some patience for pressure that it hoped would overwhelm Chicago. "We definitely increased the pressure on them at that point," Seguin said. "We were getting on their D with a few more guys."
At that point, Boston began to assume control of the game, and Chicago had seemingly punched itself out. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who didn't have to do much in the first period except for a stylish glove save on Jaromir Jagr, had to make tight stops on Brad Marchand and David Krejci. Marchand also hit the post with a minute left in he second period. The Bruins were clearly atoning for their opening-period malaise.
"Not much needed to be said after the first period," Kelly said. "It was a pretty terrible period by our team. If it weren't for Tuukka, it would have been a lot worse. To a guy in there, I think we all knew we had to go out and play better."
They did. Boston's pressure proved to be too much for Chicago in overtime as defenseman Adam McQuaid pinched to keep a free puck in along the boards and got it deep to Seguin, who fed Paille in the slot for the winner.
The Bruins are clearly not a fun team to play against for 60 minutes or, as it was on Saturday, nearly 74.They haven't lost in regulation time since Game 6 against Toronto in the opening round and their penalty kill has now gone 22 straight power plays. And they don't panic. Their overtime battles with Chicago -- three games for the price of two -- portend a long series between the Original Sixes. This is the first Cup final since 2004 in which the teams split the first two games, and that one, between Calgary and Tampa Bay, went the distance.
"We've been through too much to worry about anything that gets in our way," Jagr said, "even if we kind of get in the way of ourselves."