CHICAGO – Tyler Seguin and the Boston Bruins are showing signs of shaking off their Stanley Cup hangover.
Seguin scored the only goal in a shootout and Boston beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Saturday night in the only regular-season matchup between the last two NHL champions.
Chris Kelly and Nathan Horton scored in regulation for Boston, which snapped a two-game skid to give coach Claude Julien his 300th NHL win. Nathan’s tying goal at 7:56 of the third sent the game to overtime.
Boston goalie Tim Thomas stopped 27 shots through overtime, then was perfect against Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp in the shootout.
“I just thought we got better as the game went on, and by the third period we looked a lot more like our team,” Julien said. “So that was good. I thought we did a great job of fighting through what we’ve been talking about the last couple of days.”
Defending champion Boston came on strong late and improved to 2-3. But the Bruins have scored just 10 goals in five games and are 0 for 20 on the power play since converting their first chance of the season.
“Just playing hard, grinding it out—that’s how we were able to come back,” Horton said. “We just need to get back to playing the way we can, just go out there and work hard. That’s how we get our game back.”
Thomas welcomed the effort as a remedy.
“We needed it bad,” he said. “There’s a big difference between 2-3 and 1-4.
“We’ve got to start building from somewhere, being down, battling back into the game,” he added. “We needed the win. We needed to feel good going forward, something to carry over on.”
Kane and Bryan Bickell scored in regulation for the Blackhawks, who got 35 saves from Corey Crawford.
Chicago came out flying, but ran out of gas late in the game and fell to 2-1-1.
“It was an amazing pace. That first period was the best period we’ve been involved in all year,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Both teams were dangerous. Both goalies had to be sharp in the first period, and had to be sharp all game.”
Chicago couldn’t preserve a 2-1 lead in the third. The Bruins dominated the final frame and had several prime chances—including a shot by Dennis Seidenberg that clanked off the post in the final minute.
Boston’s Rich Peverley then missed on a breakaway midway through overtime. He skated in alone on Crawford from the Boston blue line after a turnover by Kane, but fired a backhand shot high and wide.
“I think for whatever the reason, we didn’t really play the way we wanted to in the third,” Kane said. “It’s tough to give up a goal, especially when you’re up 2-1, but it kind of seemed like we were playing back a little bit and not really pushing the pace.”
Both teams had excellent scoring chances in a wide-open first period. Kane was flying, but was stopped by Thomas on two highlight-reel attempts.
Bickell finally broke through with the only goal of the first with 3:39 left in the period. He picked off a pass by Boston defenceman Andrew Ference at centre ice, barrelled down the slot and beat Thomas with a low shot.
Kelly scored a short-handed goal, completing a 2-on-1 with Peverley, 1:33 into the second to tie it at 1. Kelly took Peverley’s pass and whipped a high shot past Crawford from the slot.
Kane put Chicago ahead 2-1 just 1:18 later—and seconds after a Blackhawks power play expired—on a shot from the left circle that slipped between Thomas’ legs.
Boston dominated in the third, and Horton tied it 2-all at 7:56. He beat Crawford from the left circle after taking Johnny Boychuk’s pass from behind the net.
NOTES: Chicago RW Marian Hossa (upper body) missed the game and is day-to-day. … LW Viktor Stalberg returned to the lineup after missing the Blackhawks’ first three games with a knee injury. … Chicago RW Ben Smith (concussion) sat out his fourth game. … Boston D Adam McQuaid (neck pain) is day-to-day after crashing into the boards in a 3-2 loss at Carolina last Wednesday. His roster spot was filled by D Matt Bartkowski. … Bruins C David Krejci (core injury) missed his second game.