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Stanley Cup Finals Game Two: A Tale of Two Cities

Stanley Cup Finals Game Two: A Tale of Two Cities

Photo By Jeffrey S Levine

Outside of the United Center

After taking 112 minutes of hockey to determine who won the first game of the Stanley Cup, the first 20 minutes of game two made it appear that the outcome should never be in doubt. Chicago outshot Boston 19-4, a pace that would come out to 111-21 over six periods, dictated play and had the United Center on the edge of their seat with chance after chance after chance. Even with a Blackhawks goal being waived off, the fact that Boston escaped only down 1-0 was perhaps a portent of things to come.
 
For all the attention that was paid to Nathan Horton's game one injury and whether he would be back in the lineup, it was another Welland, Ontario native that made all the difference this evening. Daniel Paille not only flipped a pass back to Chris Kelly for the first goal of the game and a major momentum shifter, but he also pushed a beautiful glove-side shot by Corey Crawford in the first overtime. In a series that has so far been marked by the play of the third line (Andrew Shaw had the 3OT winner for Chicago in game one), the grinders certainly got it done for Boston this evening:
 
"The bottom six have all played together at certain times, Chris Kelly, Paille's linemate explained after the game. 'If it wasn't this year, last year, even the year before. We're all familiar with one another."
 
That familiarity is starting to pay dividends. Since being traded from Buffalo to Boston for draft picks in 2009, Paille's numbers were trending down but in the lockout shortened season, he has one more goal (10) and one more assist (7) in 46 games then he had in last year's full regular season. Sometimes hockey is luck, sometimes skill but smart players always have a way of being in the right place at the right time, even if they try to deflect the credit:
 
''We just kept the pressure on and Seggy threw the puck to me,'' Paille said. ''I just popped out and had to shoot the puck quick, get it off my stick. I was able to send it post low. He made a good play passing it over instead of shooting.'
 
In addition to tonights tally being Paille's first playoff overtime goal, it also marks the second game-winner for him in just this post-season. Paille's name may often get downed out when people are constantly talking about Bergeron and Rask and Jagr and Lucic, but Buffalo fans know what to expect when No. 20 takes the ice. 
 

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