Incredible start, no finish as the Blackhawks drop Game 2 in OT - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Incredible start, no finish as the Blackhawks drop Game 2 in OT 2-1

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Blackhawks dropped Game 2 in overtime by a 2-1 margin as the Boston Bruins evened the series. The Bruins were thoroughly outplayed in the opening period, but most games aren't won because of playing only one strong period. Boston showed their resolve and was the better team for the majority of the contest and deserved the victory.

In Game 1 the Blackhawks third line outplayed their counterparts and was a significant factor in two goals. On Saturday night the Bruins newly formed third line made the difference. In what was described as a gut feeling by head coach Claude Julien, a different third line was rolled out for Game 2. Chris Kelly played in the middle flanked by Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin as the trio accounted for the two Boston goals.

The Bruins were never dominated in the post season the way the Hawks handled them in the opening frame. 

Chicago was credited with 19 shots while Boston could only muster four shots on goal. In Game 1, Corey Crawford's play in the first OT session led the Blackhawks to victory. Last night Tuukka Rask was great in period one and kept his team afloat. This could be considered a goalie win by Rask although the Hawks didn't put forth a sustained challenge after the first period.

Maybe it was the added emotion of playing at home and a super adrenaline rush to begin the game but the Hawks looked tired as the night wore on. The Bruins chased the puck in the first frame and recorded 19 hits as that type of punishment could have helped to sap some energy from the home team.

One of the tradeoffs of playing puck possession hockey is Boston will have the opportunity to make a lot of hits. They are very good at finishing checks but it isn't easy to pound away at an opponent for an entire match.

It also isn't easy to play at such a fast pace and high level as the Hawks demonstrated to start Game 2. It took Boston almost 15 minutes to sustain any meaningful offensive zone time but they came out the better club to begin the second frame.

It was Boston in Game 2 that dictated the pace of play for the most part. When things slow down the Hawks aren't as effective and when up against a strong goaltending performance the game boils down to which club makes the most costly errors. Unfortunately for Hawk faithful the Bruins took full advantage of a couple of misplays and now the series heads to Boston all square at a game apiece.

When a team completely dominants an opponent and comes away with only one goal, trouble often follows. To make matters worse, Marian Hossa appeared to score in the first period after Patrick Sharp gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Hossa was in the crease and poked at the puck which crossed the goal line but it was ruled the play was dead.

In the NHL a play is considered whistled dead when the referee loses sight of the puck. It doesn't matter if the whistle actually is blown before the puck goes into the net. The play is over once the referee intended to blow the whistle. The actual sound of the whistle blowing doesn't matter as much as the intention of the official, which gives the referee some leeway in a situation like Saturday night.

Some Hawk fans will cite the no goal call as a reason for the defeat.

In reality the Blackhawks have gotten more than their share of luck in the series. Saturday night, the Bruins were stopped by the goal post a couple of times, hit the cross bar once, and they encountered similar bad luck in Game 1. Usually the breaks even out, sometimes they don't, but bad luck had little to do with Boston winning Game 2.

The Blackhawks defensemen weren't able to cleanly and quickly get the puck out of their zone for most of the night. Credit the Bruins forecheck and the lack of a similar effort from the Hawks as being a deciding factor. The Blackhawks were looking for long stretch passes instead of skating and were guilty of turnovers. They were not getting pucks behind the Bruin defensemen and couldn't sustain much attack time.

On the Bruins first goal Sharp lost the puck along the boards and Nick Leddy was frozen and caught flat footed. This allowed Paille space to make a play from behind the net and Kelly beat Crawford. Credit Paille for doing all the heavy lifting as the Bruins created an opportunity from hard work along the boards. They also took advantage of a young defenseman failing to make an ordinary defensive play.

On the game winner Brandon Bollig failed to control a puck along the boards. His inability to clear the zone was costly as Seguin got the puck and fed a wide open Kelly who beat Crawford.

On one of his best night's, Crawford doesn't get beat to the glove side by Kelly's game winner. The Bruins all series have had the ability to find open ice in prime goal scoring areas. Kelly shouldn't have been so wide open and Bollig failed to make a routine play.

There isn't much difference between these two clubs and failing to make routine plays can be the difference and was Saturday night. The one factor which has been touched upon but probably not stressed enough is the Bruins have more Stanley Cup experience on their roster than the Hawks.

Two of the younger Hawks, who were not part of the 2010 championship team, made costly errors Saturday night. The Bruins Kelly and Paille who didn't have great games in the series opener showed their veteran experience and bounced back. The Bruins as a group played with more consistency and were rewarded.

Bad breaks had little to do with the Game 2 loss but being held to total of only nine shots in period two and three was significant. The Hawks after an outstanding start on home ice couldn't sustain the effort and fell away from their plan. The team with the stronger will stay determined and was eventually rewarded. 

The Blackhawks inept power play hurt more than usual because they could only generate one goal at even strength. On three power play attempts the Hawks didn't score and on the last two chances were not credited with a shot on goal.

Over the years the Hawks have had some bad power plays but this one is right up there with the worst considering the level of talent. Not scoring is bad enough but losing momentum is not good and that happened to the Hawks Saturday night. The Bruins have an outstanding penalty killing unit so they deserve credit but for the most part the Hawks aren't coming close to scoring.

After days of watching tape it would be best to realize the likelihood of the power play contributing very much is slim. By this point everyone in the Blackhawks front office has been given an opportunity to provide input to solve the power play woes.

My thinking is it might be best to play the same lines and defensive pairings during power play time. At this point what could it hurt? Maybe the chemistry would work better and players wouldn't look so tentative.

The Blackhawks will look to compete for the entire game on Monday night in Boston. The Hawks need to capture a win in either Game 3 or 4, or Boston could clinch next Saturday in Chicago. 

I will be back on Tuesday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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