CHICAGO – Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien has been trying different lines since centre Gregory Campbell broke his right leg in the Eastern Conference finals against Pittsburgh.
He hit on one combination in a big way on Saturday night.
Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin played together in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals and were responsible for both of the goals in Boston’s 2-1 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks that evened the series at a game apiece.
“I think Claude is just trying to find different chemistry with different guys, who’s going on any given night,” Kelly said. “Claude has a pretty good feel for his players. I think our line got thrown together, I don’t know, end of the first, beginning of the second. I thought we went out there and played well.”
The Bruins had a terrible first period, but Paille and Kelly teamed up to tie the game at 14:58 in the second. Paille was stopped by Corey Crawford, but Kelly was there to poke in the rebound.
Seguin passed to Paille for the winning score in overtime, giving the Bruins the momentum with the series shifting to Boston for Game 3 on Monday night.
“It’s a hunch from a coach,” Julien said. “I know that Dan is a great skater, can make a lot of things happen. Seguin after the first period was one of the guys that picked up his game. Kelly was one of the guys that was good right from the start. I put those three guys together and they answered.”
TOEWS Honoured: Jonathan Toews prides himself on contributing on both ends, so capturing the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward was a nice pat on the back.
The Chicago Blackhawks captain was announced as the winner on Friday evening, beating out fellow centres Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins and Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings.
“You never expect those things,” Toews said after Saturday’s morning skate. “There are so many great players around the league that could be recognized for that—not just around the league, but in this locker room, too. You’re seeing the reason we’ve gone so far in the playoffs, because of so many different guys.”
Toews was third in the league with a plus-28 rating in 47 games in the regular season, helping Chicago post the most points in the NHL. He was second on the Blackhawks with 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists), shared the league lead with 56 takeaways and ranked second in the NHL with a 59.9 faceoff percentage.
Toews also was a finalist for the Selke after the 2010-11 season.
“I thought Jonny had a real solid year when I look offensively what his production was like, but defensively—we always keep scoring chances for and against—he had one of those years that the numbers jumped off the charts,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Playing against top lines and top D shift in, shift out, that says a lot. I think his awareness on both sides of the puck makes him the type of player that he is.”
INSPIRATION FROM JAMES, WADE: Chicago’s Patrick Kane watched LeBron James and Dwyane Wade step up for the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday and drew a little inspiration.
“You see something like that, it makes you want to (do it),” he said.
With big performances from their big stars, the Heat beat San Antonio 109-93 to tie their series. James had 33 points and 11 rebounds after failing to score 20 in any of the first three games of the series. Wade scored 32, 11 more than his previous high this post-season, and Chris Bosh matched his playoff high with 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Kane knows a thing or two about delivering in big moments. After all, he scored the winning goal against Philadelphia in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals, ending a 49-year championship drought for Chicago, and even though he’s been rather quiet in these playoffs, he also turned in one of his most memorable performances.
That was in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings. He scored three goals, including the winner in double-overtime, as the Blackhawks knocked off the defending champions and got back to the championship round after back-to-back first-round exits.
“I think there are only maybe one, two, three, four teams that can win in the NBA,” Kane said. “In the NHL, you could go all the way to 15, 16 teams that could end up winning, even seeing Detroit almost beat us. I enjoy watching, for sure, anytime the game’s on. I think it’s nice we’re playing on different nights than them and you can watch and see how players step up in big games in that sport.”
APPRECIATING SUPPORT: Bruins defenceman Torey Krug said it was good to know his coach and teammates had his back after a difficult series opener.
His clearing attempt in the third period of that game got picked off by Andrew Shaw, who fed Dave Bolland on a 2-on-1 rush as the Blackhawks pulled within one.
Coach Claude Julien defended Krug, saying not to judge him on that one play. And Krug appreciated that.
“Yeah, it’s important. I kind of felt that way all along,” he said. “Everyone’s asking questions, but the whole time, I knew the support I had coming into it.”
AGED, NOT INJURED: Jaromir Jagr was not on the ice for Boston’s morning skate, and no, it had nothing to do with an injury. It had everything to do with his age. “He’s 100 per cent—he’s 41,” Julien said.