BOSTON — A dominant first period gave the Chicago Blackhawks plenty of momentum. Then it disappeared.
They’ve come to Boston to find it and get the upper hand over the Bruins in a very tight Stanley Cup final series.
“I guess the main thing is to always keep it simple,” Chicago’s Patrick Kane said Sunday soon after arriving at the arena where he hopes to do that. “If you can do that, usually you can take away some of their momentum. I think right now they do have it, especially after the last overtime period where it seemed like they had a lot of chances compared to ours.”
Chicago outshot Boston 19-4 in the first period and led 1-0 in Game 2 on Saturday night. But the Bruins held a 24-15 lead the rest of the way and won 2-1 in overtime to even the series at one game apiece.
The team that scored first also lost the opener. Boston led 2-0 and 3-1 then allowed two goals in the last 12 minutes of regulation. Chicago went on to win 4-3 in three overtimes.
“Might be an unusual stat,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, “but there’s nothing wrong with scoring first.”
The Bruins physical play might have taken its toll. They outhit the Blackhawks 50-34 and dominated overtime.
“I’m used to getting hit back there quite a lot,” Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “I know how to take a hit or two. I think for the most (part) we might not be the most physical D corps in the league, but we’re trying to move the puck quick. Sometimes you have to take a good hit to deliver a pass.”
Any momentum Chicago gained by winning Game 1 carried over into Game 2 despite two days between games. The Blackhawks started aggressively, pressuring goalie Tuukka Rask and stifling the Bruins offense with tight checking.