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Stanley Cup Final: Game 2 Report Card for Bruins' OT win over Blackhawks

Corey Crawford gave up the game-winning goal to Daniel Paille at 13:48 of the first overtime period. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Corey Crawford (pictured) gave up the game-winning goal to Daniel Paille in the first OT period. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Here is a completely subjective look at some of the key elements in Boston's 2-1 overtime win over Chicago in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final:

Goaltending

Boston: This game would have gotten out of hand early if not for yet another heroic effort from the unflappable Finn. Tuukka Rask made 34 stops on the night, including six in extra time, and while there were stretches where his rebounds started getting away from him, it's hard to argue with one goal surrendered in nearly 75 minutes of hockey. A

Chicago: Corey Crawford barely broke a sweat during a lopsided first period, but made some big stops with his glove as the Bruins got their legs moving. There wasn't much he could do on Boston's first goal, an ugly but effective net crash by Chris Kelly, but there was a play to be made on Daniel Paille's OT winner. Crawford moved across his crease effectively, but failed to track the puck as it came off Paille's stick, allowing it to beat him far side under the arm. At that point of the game, Crawford has to make that stop. B-

GAME 2: Recap Boxscore | Highlights | Photos | Complete schedule

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Defensive coverage

Boston: There are diners serving eggs less scrambled than Boston's defensive coverage in the first, but the B's tightened it up in the final two-and-a-half periods. Part of that was making plays with the puck in transition instead of simply throwing it away. Part of it was moving their feet and getting to loose pucks first instead of chasing the Hawks after they'd retrieved it. And part of it was just getting back to Boston's basics of clogging up the middle and forcing the Hawks to the outside. B

Chicago: The best defense is a good offense, which is a catchy way of saying you don't have to worry about being scored on when you have the puck all the time. Chicago's hot start kept the pressure off the back end for the first 30 minutes or so, and then the blueliners had to step up as the Bruins got their legs going. Duncan Keith had a strong night -- he was credited officially with four blocks, but I had him down for six. He disrupted at least three high-end chances with an active stick and was one of the few Hawks to move the puck effectively. Niklas Hjalmarsson had a few hairy moments, including a decision to send a blind, behind-the-back pass through the middle of the ice that should have ended up in the back of the net. It was an uncharacteristic breakdown for a typically reliable defender. The group wilted in overtime as Boston's fierce forecheck left them chasing the play. It seemed like a matter of time until they cashed in ... and it was. C

CAZENEUVE: Bruins overcome own mistakes, Blackhawks in Game 2

Scoring chances

Boston: Their forwards may as well have left their sticks on the bench in the first period for all the use they got out of them, managing just four lousy shots (and they were lousy) through the first 20 minutes. The B's were lucky to be in the game. But they finally got their legs moving after some line shuffling (more on that below), and it was a new-look combo of Tyler Seguin, Paille and Kelly that found an offensive groove. David Krejci's line struggled early, failing to even attempt a shot until the second period. Offensively, there wasn't a lot of jam there, but their work on the forecheck paid dividends late. Brad Marchand and Seguin both played a look-at-me game, wreaking a bit of havoc with their speed. Jaromir Jagr had a rough night. The pace seemed more than a bit beyond him. B-

KWAK: Paille emerges as hero for Bruins

Chicago: The Hawks played a mirror image game, landing 19 shots in a dominant first period played on tilted ice, before being limited to just nine shots in the second and third combined. Chicago had 12 legitimate chances in the first, with five coming in a span of seven seconds leading up to Patrick Sharp's goal. The key -- and this might come as a surprise -- was getting bodies to the net and banging away at anything that Rask didn't smother. The tactic led to another puck being jammed behind him by Marian Hossa, but a quick whistle from referee Wes McCauley negated the apparent goal. After the first, the chances dried up as the Bruins bottled up the neutral zone. The Hawks landed just two shots -- one each from Sharp and Brandon Saad -- from within 10 feet the rest of the way. Hossa, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews managed just one shot between them after the first period. C

Penalty kill

Boston: Shutting down Chicago's power play at this point is a lot like making fun of Nickelback: Everybody does it and it doesn't take a lot of imagination to get the job done. Still, they extended the Hawks' streak of futility, limiting them to just two shots on three chances. Chicago had one nice stretch of offensive zone time on their second chance, but the Bruins shuttered the lanes and got some timely stick work to negate one Keith bid down low. This was the Bruins at their best. A

Chicago: Disciplined play by the Hawks limited the Bruins to just two chances on the night, but honestly the way each team's power play is going they may as well start playing prison rules. Boston was held to three shots, but no real chances, by Chicago's PK. If they were hoping to at least build momentum out of these opportunities, there was none to be had. A

Coaching

Boston: Other than Rask, the biggest factor in this win was Julien's second-period decision to generate some energy with a fleet-footed line of Seguin, Paille and Kelly. The trio clicked quickly, doing some nice work along the boards and turning over the puck on several occasions before they morphed into offensive heroes. Without this adjustment, the B's probably go home down 2-0. Can't give Julien an A, though, because he apparently forgot to tell the team that the game started at 7 CDT. B+

Chicago: The Hawks, conversely, came out flying with their sights clearly set on crushing the will of the Bruins quickly. They completely dominated throughout the first, but when the chances dried up, it wasn't until well into the third that Joel Quenneville looked to rekindle the magic by loading the top line with Kane and Toews -- not that doing so generated much magic. And when they started struggling with their zone entries, Quenneville couldn't convince his team to start dumping and chasing. This one goes in the books as a missed opportunity. C
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