Rask’s solid playoffs shattered in 17-second span
Posted at: 06/25/2013 2:35 AM
By HOWARD ULMAN
(AP) BOSTON - In 17 stunning seconds, Tuukka Rask’s solid postseason was shattered.
That’s all the time the Chicago Blackhawks needed to rally and win the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Monday night.
"It’s shocking," Rask said.
Dave Bolland tied the game with 1:16 left, Brian Bickell put Chicago ahead with 59 seconds to go and, when time ran out, the Blackhawks had their second championship in four years.
The Bruins’ hopes of winning their second in three years were finished.
"You are going to remember forever," Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "You remember winning (the Cup), but I think you remember losing it a little bit more."
The Bruins won it two years ago behind the spectacular goaltending of Tim Thomas. When he decided to take this season off, Rask stepped in and played just as well for long stretches of the postseason.
He allowed only two goals in a four-game sweep of the high-scoring Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals. On Monday, he let that many get by him in just 17 seconds in his last game of the season.
Rask couldn’t do much to stop either goal. Bickell scored from the edge of the crease on a feed from Jonathan Toews. Bolland connected on a rebound after a shot deflected off Michal Frolik and the post.
"I don’t think a lot of people expected us to go this far," Rask said. "We shocked the hockey world beating Pittsburgh and going to the finals. I don’t know if we were a little shocked or not, but I’m definitely really proud of the guys and the effort they gave."
Bruins forward Tyler Seguin was proud of Rask.
"He stepped into the spotlight and he dominated it," Seguin said.
Rask and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford entered the game with identical 1.83 goals against averages in the playoffs. In the clincher, Crawford had 23 saves and Rask 28.
"I thought he was great all series," Crawford said. "A lot of the games took a life of their own. Sometimes we had shootouts, sometimes we had tight games, but he was there throughout. You see what it took to beat him tonight, a late flurry like that or we wouldn’t be standing here."
The Bruins had an even more amazing comeback in the first round of the playoffs than the Blackhawks did on Monday. Trailing 4-1 with less than 11 minutes left in the seventh game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, they forced overtime then won 5-4 on Patrice Bergeron’s goal.
"We’ve done it to somebody else, so we got to feel how it feels being on the other side," Rask said. "This season we were known to lose a couple of leads, even in the regular season we were up by goals and we lost the games. I guess that sums it up pretty good."
Defenseman Andrew Ference dismissed any comparison between the two series.
"That was round one," he said. "This is the finals."
The Bruins took the lead on Milan Lucic’s goal with 7:49 left. They even killed off a high-sticking penalty called against Chris Kelly with 5:39 to go. But nine seconds after Crawford was replaced for an extra skater, leaving Chicago’s net empty, Bickell tied the game.
"We knew they were going to pinch (in toward the net), and you lose a puck battle here or there, and they made great plays," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "The tying goal is a great play. They’ve got their best players out there on the ice and then they made a great pass."
On Bolland’s winning goal, he said, "our guys were close to him, but, you know, he just out-muscled them on that."
The loss was especially painful because the Bruins wanted to provide good news for a city where the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath resulted in the deaths of four people.
"We really felt that we wanted to play as hard as we could for a numbers of reasons, for the city," captain Zdeno Chara said. "We were very proud of the fans the way they stood behind us."
But the game ended with Blackhawks players hoisting the Stanley Cup over their heads and their fans cheering in the Bruins’ building.
"We made it a great run," Rask said. "Too bad we just couldn’t finish it off."
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)