The Bruins entered game 2 after a strong 3-2 win in game 1. Boston dominated for most of the game, with Tampa making a late surge to claw within one. Game 2 is the first half of back-to-back games. How would playing back-to-back playoff games affect the style of play? Would the teams try to keep some gas in the tank for the next game? The Bruins had a great opportunity after Lightning defenseman McDonagh was ruled out of the game. If the Bruins can take a 2-0 lead with a quick turnaround, they will have full control of the series. But don't expect Tampa to just rollover. Let's get to the recap to see how game 2 went.
Just 15 seconds into the game Tampa had a scoring chance but Halak made a good positional save. Just over three minutes in a broken stick led to the Bruins being 2 on 1. Bjork takes the shot and misses wide but it bounces back in front. Ritchie puts a shot on net that is initially stopped by Vaslievskiy but the puck is loose and eventually banged in. The goal goes to Ritchie and it's 1-0 Bruins early. Just two minutes after a turnover behind the Bruins net, Tampa looked like they had tied it up off a Coleman tip in front. Cassidy challenges the play for offside. On replay, Tampa dumps the puck in, but before all of their forwards clear the zone, one of their players enters the zone. Because not all of the other players left the zone first the play was ruled offsides, no goal.
Tampa was clearly frustrated with the call and Paquette took a little shot at Halak resulting in matching minors for him and Grzelcyk. Pastrnak and Clifton got a 2 on 1 but Vasilevskiy made the save on Pasta’s shot. With just over seven minutes left, Bogosian got through the defense and made a diving pass to Coleman. Coleman sees the pass just too far in front and dives for it, shooting it on net and through Halak to tie the game at 1. With about five minutes to go Pasta gets another scoring chance. Vasilevskiy made the save off his helmet, keeping the score tied. With under three minutes to go, the Bruins went on the power play. Tampa unfortunately killed it off as we headed into the second period tied 1-1.
Just over a minute in and Bergeron with a chance but Vasilevskiy makes the stop. Tampa came out physical, finishing all of their checks. Wagner has a chance after a turnover in the slot but his shot just misses high. With just under seven minutes gone, Tampa heads to the power play. Point gets an early chance but Halak makes the save. The Bruins killed the rest of the penalty, preventing more dangerous chances. A great defensive play by Sergachev denies Pastrnak a scoring chance.
With just under six minutes to go, the Bruins got back on the power play. The Bruins need a solid power play to bring back some momentum. Less than a minute later Pastrnak fires a pass to Marchand right next to the net and he tips it into the open net. Unfortunately, about a minute later, after a great effort play by Point, he feeds the puck to Shattenkirk. Shattenkirk takes a shot which is deflected by Kucherov in front and into the net, tying the game at 2. With just over two minutes to go, the Bruins got another late power play. Pastrnak gets another scoring chance but it's turned away by Vaslilevskiy and we head into the third still tied.
Less than a minute into the period Clifton took a penalty and Tampa was on the power play. Point gets his best chance on the power play but Halak makes a great leg save. A few minutes later Vasilevskiy returns the favor with a big save on a Coyle chance. With just over nine minutes to go Coleman got behind the Bruins defense. His shot is bothered just enough by Clifton that Halak is fooled and sneaks through his pads to make it 3-2 Tampa. Tampa starts to play more defensively and the Bruins go to work.
After a dominant offensive zone shift with just under four minutes to go, the Bruins tied it up at 3. Just like the third goal in game 1 Marchand receives a pass this time from Kuraly across the crease and bangs it home. The game heads into overtime with the score still tied at 3. Halak makes a great save on a tip in front of Palat. Unfortunately, the Bruins struggled to clear the puck and Tampa made them pay. After a shot goes wide of Halak's glove, Maroon tries a wrap-around shot. The puck is loose in front and nobody picks up Palat coming in late. The puck finds its way to Palat and he fires it by Halak giving Tampa a 4-3 win and trying the series 1-1.
The first star of game 2 goes to Blake Coleman. Coleman scored the first and third goals for Tampa and even had a goal called back. With four shots and six hits, he was a force all game. The second star of the game went to Brad Marchand. Marchand scored his second and third goals for the Bruins, even playing his usual game while getting under the skin of Tampa defenders. Finally, the third star goes to Ondrej Palat. Like Coleman, Palat contributed across the board but he also scored the OT game-winner.
If you would like to see a short video covering the post-game from the Bruins, click here. With the series now tied at one game each, the Bruins face a big question. Which goalie is going to start game 3? Halak faced 40 shots and has played five straight games. Vladar is the backup, but he would be making his first NHL start in the second round in a tied series. A night off might keep Halak fresh for the rest of the series. But can the Bruins hand the net over to a rookie goalie in game three of a tired series? Both games have been decided by one goal so we know the teams are evenly matched. Game 3 could swing the momentum of the series behind either one. We will just have to wait and see. Until then stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP.