June 25, 2013

Bruins' season comes to stunning, painful end

Chicago scores twice in the final 1:16 of regulation to beat Boston 3-2 and win their second title in four seasons.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — The Boston Bruins and goalie Tuukka Rask were less than 80 seconds away from a seventh game of the Stanley Cup Final.

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Chicago Blackhawks left wing Viktor Stalberg (25), of Sweden, hoists the Stanley Cup alongside goalie Corey Crawford (50) after the Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins [score] in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33), hugs Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81), both of Slovakia, after the Blackhawks beat the Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Then it all fell apart.

"It's obviously shocking when you think you have everything under control," Rask said quietly, standing at his locker with a blue baseball cap on backward and a towel draped over his shoulders.

Bryan Bickell beat him with 1:16 left to tie the game, Dave Bolland did it again with 59 seconds to go and the Chicago Blackhawks pulled off a stunning comeback for a 3-2 win on Monday night and their second Stanley Cup championship in four seasons.

The Bruins' bid for their second title in three seasons ended in a flurry that left them wondering what went wrong.

Rask had been brilliant for most of the playoffs. And he was outstanding again for most of Monday night's game. Then he got little help from his teammates as he let in two costly goals.

Bickell scored when he got behind forward Milan Lucic and tapped in a pass across the slot from Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.

"It was a quick play out of the corner," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who was on the ice for 10 of the Blackhawks final 12 goals in the series, including Bickell's equalizer. "I saw a guy coming to the net."

Then Bolland put the game-winner past Rask when he converted a shot deflected by Michael Frolik that went off the left post.

"It was a shot from the point. Deflection, rebound, goal. A lot of plays happen like that," Rask said.

And then his voice trailed off.

He 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.

But not this time.

Not against a team that set an NHL record by getting at least one point in each of its first 24 games, going 21-0-4.

Defenseman Andrew Ference dismissed any comparison between the two series.

"That was round one," he said. "This is the finals."

Rask was spectacular in the Eastern Conference finals against the high-powered Pittsburgh Penguins. He held Sidney Crosby and company to two goals in a four-game sweep that sent the Bruins to the finals.

He even had better statistics than Tim Thomas, the goalie he backed up when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011. Thomas was MVP of that year's playoffs then decided to take this season off.

"I'm really proud," Rask said. "I think a lot of people didn't expect us to go this far. We shocked the hockey world against Pittsburgh."

They suffered a shock on Monday night after celebrating Lucic's goal that gave them a 2-1 lead with 7:49 left.

How did the Blackhawks come back?

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (27), of Sweden, hugs Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) after winning Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals 3-2 against the Boston Bruins, Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Boston Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (44), of Germany, and center Patrice Bergeron (37) check Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad, center, in front of the goal during the second period in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Harry How, Pool)

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Boston Bruins center Chris Kelly (23) celebrates his goal past Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50)during the first period in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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Chicago Blackhawks center Dave Bolland (36) celebrates his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins with Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) during the third period in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. The Blackhawks won 3-2. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  


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