This was no ordinary NHL regular season game.
The crowd of fans at United Center in Chicago, Ill. was electric, energetic, and amped up for the game against Stanley Cup runner-up, the Boston Bruins.
The Bruins faced off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals, last season, but were unsuccessful in collecting the beloved cup.
Although the Blackhawks pulled away with a shootout win, 3-2, over the Bruins Sunday afternoon, the game displayed a Stanley Cup-like style of competition. Blackhawks head coach, Joel Quenneville, agreed, “It definitely had that playoff flavor to the game. For a regular-season game, you could see that both teams had something at stake and wanted to prove they could win the hockey game.”
Clearly the competition was heated, as the two teams would not let their opponent win in regulation or overtime. The winner was determined by a difficult and merciless shootout, applying all the pressure onto the goalies and skaters shooting.
The play was rapid, quick, and endless. At zero points in the game did it seem one team was competing lackadaisical.
Marian Hossa (Blackhawks) opened up the scoring on the night, early in the first period. A scrappy and swift Brad Marchand matched the goal with under a minute remaining in the period. Both teams had even amount of time on attack throughout each period.
Marchand collected the momentum from his first goal and scored to give the Bruins the lead early in the second, 50 seconds in. However, Brandon Bollig (Blackhawks) mid way through the period came back to score the tying goal off of a nice wrist shot.
Literally, the second half of the game featured a goalies-duel between Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford.
These two goalies have gone head-to-head competitively before. Both goalies forced three overtime games in the 2013 Stanley Cup finals.
Although the Bruins suffered a tough shootout loss to the Blackhawks, the fire was lit back into the lamp of the team. With this kindled fire back in possession, hopefully the team can carry out strong until the end of the season and into the 2014 postseason.
The Bruins host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, Jan. 20, at 3 p.m. EST The Kings defeated the Bruins earlier this month, 4-2.