Sunday, Sunday, Sunday — a notably exciting day for sports in the realm of football. For once, hockey took center ice in a Stanley Cup Final rematch, live from Chicago. The last time the Boston Bruins faced the Chicago Blackhawks, the final buzzer marked more than a regular season win for Chicago, it marked the winning of hockey’s ultimate prize: The Stanley Cup.
It was a well fought series between the two teams, skating hard into late June and a Game 6 matchup on Boston ice. It looked as though Boston was poised to make it a forced Game 7 as they led the scoreboard in the closing minutes. But with Stanley in sight, the Blackhawks managed to score two goals, just 17 seconds apart in the remaining 1:16 of the game, for a 3-2 win and the title Stanley Cup Champions.
Of course, a regular season matchup doesn’t hold nearly as much meaning as a Game 6 elimination, but the emotions were still on overdrive during a cold day in Chicago. The goaltenders remained the same, Tuukka Rask presided of the pipes for Boston, while Corey Crawford held reign at the opposing end.
In June, the Blackhawks were the last to strike, in January, they were the first. Marian Hossa, opened the first period scoring with his 20th of the season from Patrick Sharp (25) and Niklas Hjalmarsson (18) at 4:13. But the lead was equalized at 19:41, as Brad Marchand netted lucky 13 from Patrice Bergeron (18) and Adam McQuaid (5).
Just 50 seconds into the second period, Marchand put the Bruins up 2-1 with his second of the game from Reilly Smith (20) and birthday boy, Johnny Boychuk (12). The goal marked a small milestone in Marchand’s career, his tenth multi-goal regular season game — the drive to make it a hat trick kept number 63 as an offensive force throughout the remainder of the period. Blackhawks Brandon Bollig made it 2-2 at 9:44,with his 5th of the season, assisted by Marcus Kruger (17) and Duncan Keith (42).
With a battle of goaltending in full swing, Rask facing 37 shots, Crawford, 36, each goaltender made incredible saves at their respective ends. But both teams skated a scoreless third period right into overtime. Chicago found themselves on the power play heading into the overtime period, as Bruins Matt Bartkowski crosschecked Blackhawks Ben Smith during the final seconds of the third period.
Unlike in the playoffs, shootouts are an option during regular season, and that’s just where the teams headed after a scoreless 5-minute overtime period. The Bruins have only prevailed in one of their three shootouts this season, while the Blackhawks have won four of ten faced.
Bruins; Ryan Spooner -0
Patrice Bergeron – 0
Brad Marchand -1
Blackhawks; Jonathan Toews – 1
Patrick Sharp – 0
Patrick Kane – 1
Patrick Kane’s goal gave Chicago the 3-2 win and the continued title of champions, for now. The two teams will face each other for a second tilt this season on Boston ice in March.
It will be minimal rest for Boston as they play host to the LA Kings for a 3 pm start tomorrow afternoon. The game will mark the middle of a 5 game road trip for the Kings who tallied a 4-1 win in St. Louis on Thursday, followed by a 3-2 loss in Detroit on Saturday. The Kings will look to reign over the Bruins before continuing their road trip in Columbus on Tuesday. The black and gold themselves will have a light game week, as they don’t play until Saturday when they face the Flyers in Philadelphia.