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Vin Sylvia: Cup Final has 'classic' written all over it
Saturday night in Chicago, after a first period totally dominated by the Blackhawks, the B's improved with each successive period, tying the game in the second and winning it, 2-1, in OT to send the series to Boston even at a game apiece.
Just as their comeback win over the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the opening round infused the Bruins with the belief that another Cup was attainable, what transpired Saturday night had to boost their faith in each other. What had been the team's weak link throughout the lockout-shortened season and on into the playoffs, the third line, suddenly became a strength when Julien partnered Tyler Seguin with centerman Chris Kelly and left wing Daniel Paille early in the second period.
Julien's line-juggling was possible only because of a move he didn't have to make: replacing Horton.
Knocked out of Game 1 with an apparent shoulder injury in the first overtime, Horton returned to action Saturday night, keeping the first line intact. He doesn't do that, Seguin likely skates in his place, and the third-line magic probably never happens.
Of course we probably wouldn't be discussing any of this right now were it not for Tuukka Rask. The Bruins may lack a superstar, but their goalie has given them a superstar-caliber performance, compiling the NHL's best record (13-5) and save percentage (.944) in the postseason.
Here's another given: With Saturday's Bruins victory ensuring the Final will go at least five games, we are assured of summer hockey Saturday night in Boston.
Vin Sylvia is a New Hampshire Union Leader deputy managing editor. Email him at email@example.com.
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