CHICAGO -- Veteran Chris Kelly was awarded the Army Rangers camouflage jacket that is worn by the Boston Bruins player of the game as judged by his teammates.
It's the brainchild of Boston defenceman Andrew Ference because the Army Rangers slogan is "Rangers lead the way."
The guys in black and gold were going the wrong way early in this game, but they had plenty of leaders step up to help pull this one out. This jacket easily could have been awarded to several people after the Bruins' gutsy 2-1 victory on the road in overtime over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday to tie the Stanley Cup final at 1-1.
How about goalie Tuukka Rask? Let's face it, the Bruins stole Game 2. The only player who checked in for the first period was the 26-year-old Finnish netminder. He made 18 saves in the opening 20 minutes -- 33 in total -- to allow Boston to sneak into its dressing room only down 1-0 after the first period.
"We just weren't there," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We were on our heels. They had total control of that period. Tuukka kept us in there."
Yes, we know the jacket is supposed to go to a player, but Julien also could have slipped it on over his suit after this game. He scolded his players in the first intermission and then begged them to step up their physical game to get back into the contest.
The Bruins did, and as a result, they slowly pushed their way back in to the fray. They wound up outhitting the Blackhawks 50-34. Milan Lucic was a bear and led the way with 10 hits.
"We're a big, strong team," said Kelly, who snapped a slump with his first goal in this 18-game playoff run. "We want to finish our hits when they were there, try to wear teams down. We didn't really have the puck a whole lot. But there were lots of times to hit. Maybe it was a little one-sided that way."
Julien makes key line change
Julien also knew his club needed a spark. His team needed a new line combination because the top line of David Krejci, Lucic and Nathan Horton, which has bailed Boston out time and time again this spring, was not on its game early on.
So Julien put Tyler Seguin on the right side with fourth-liners Daniel Paille and Kelly. Magic happened. Kelly banged in a Paille pass to tie the game late in the second period. Seguin slid a perfect pass to Paille for the game winner that eluded the glove of Chicago goalkeeper Corey Crawford at the 13:48 mark in extra time.
Either of Kelly, Seguin or Paille deserved the prized post-game jacket. But it only has two sleeves.
"I thought the chemistry was building throughout the game and it was nice top it off the way we did," said Seguin, who dearly needed a confidence-building game. His production has dropped off a cliff in the Bruins' playoff run with only a goal and four assists in the first 17 post-season games
"He was huge for us," said Paille, who scored his first career playoff OT winner. "He's definitely been taking some heat. This was a big night for him."
Boston better team in Game 2
After that dismal first period, in which the Blackhawks found their groove and looked like the team that started the regular season with a record 21-0-3 clip, the Bruins actually outshot Chicago 24-15 the rest of the way.
Boston was the better team in overtime. Jaromir Jagr dinged a shot off the crossbar earlier in the extra period. Maybe next time it will be Jagr who wears the camouflage jacket. But on this night, it could have been any number of Bruins.
Just look at the effort the Bruins gave on Kelly's crucial game-tying goal.
"On my goal it was a great five-guy effort," Kelly said. "Andrew [Ference] made a pinch, Tyler was in on the play and got it to Daniel, and Daniel took it to the net. I just happened to be there to tap it in.
"I thought Paille played extremely well the whole night. His goal, great pass by Seguin. I thought both of them played extremely well. Their feet were moving the whole night."
And the jacket could have moved from linemate to linemate to linemate to goalie to coach.
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