Bruins
Blackhawks
2 - 1 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Axelsson unlikely shootout hero for Bruins

Nov 13, 2008 - 6:08 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- With a chance for his team to end its losing ways in shootouts, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien put their fate in the hands of possibly the most unlikeliest of players.

P.J. Axelsson scored the decisive goal in the third round of the shootout, lifting the Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

Without a goal in 12 games this season - including Wednesday's contest - and unsuccessful on three career shootout attempts, Axelsson got the call from Julien over the likes of Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron and Marco Sturm. The veteran Swede made it the correct decision, deking goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and lifting a backhander into the right side of the net.

"I was lucky because he got a piece of it, and I think it just got in," Axelsson said. "I didn't really have a move planned."

"The guys I put in the shootout were guys who have been hot when we practice it," Julien said. "They earned it. It was not just a crap shoot."

Axelsson admitted he was surprised when he was selected to participate in the bonus format.

"I think I shot in the shootout once before, when we needed 14 shooters or something like that," Axelsson joked. "It was against the (New York) Rangers, I think."

Sturm scored a power-play goal in regulation and Tim Thomas made 31 saves for the Bruins, who extended their winning streak to four games and halted a seven-game slide in shootouts.

"This game was about two young teams with a lot of energy and potential," Julien said. 'Both teams played great, and having it all come down to a shootout was a sign of what this game was all about."

Captain Jonathan Toews tallied with the man advantage and Khabibulin turned aside 38 shots for Chicago, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

"Give Boston credit - they check well and play a strong team game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "This was a good test for us. We'll take the point but would have preferred two."

Before the game, the Blackhawks retired uniform No. 3 in honor of defensemen Pierre Pilote and the late Keith Magnuson.

After a stellar performance in overtime by Khabibulin, who made eight saves - including several of the spectacular variety - and helped successfully kill a penalty, and a failed penalty-shot attempt by Patrick Sharp, the game went to a shootout. Boston had lost its last four games that went to the bonus format last season and dropped its first three shootout contests this campaign.

But after Thomas knocked away Toews' first-round shot with his glove, rookie Blake Wheeler gave the Bruins the edge by tucking the puck under Khabibulin's left pad after the netminder sprawled to the ice in an unsuccessful attempt at a poke-check.

"We've been practicing the shootout at the end of practice," Wheeler said. "We've lost three of them this year, so we needed to get better at it.

"The move is what I always do. I had no scouting report on Khabibulin. Just did what I was comfortable with and was lucky to get him down when he bit on the shot, and I got around him."

Patrick Kane evened things in the second round, firing the puck between the pads of Thomas, and Khabibulin denied Phil Kessel, who made a similar attempt.

"Toews' shot went right in front of me," Thomas said. "Kane's shot I really didn't see."

Thomas blocked Dave Bolland's wrist shot with his left pad, setting the stage for Axelsson's heroics.

Bolland also was a surprising choice by Quenneville, who chose not to use Sharp or Martin Havlat instead.

"He has earned it," Quenneville said of Bolland. "He's been one of our last guys standing when we practice it."

Following a scoreless first period, Sturm gave Boston the lead with time winding down in the second. With Chicago defenseman Aaron Johnson serving a roughing penalty, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara fired the puck toward the net from the right faceoff dot, and Sturm tipped it past Khabibulin from the doorstep with 54 seconds remaining in the session for his fourth goal of the season.

The Blackhawks answered with a power-play goal of their own midway through the third. Stationed in front of the net, Toews redirected Kane's shot from the right circle by Thomas at 9:10, knotting the contest at 1-1.

Sturm believed he put the Bruins ahead with 9:12 remaining in the period, but his goal was disallowed after Wheeler was ruled to have interfered with Khabibulin while standing in the crease. No penalty was called on the play, however.

Khabibulin kept alive Chicago's chances in overtime, making a number of save on point-blank shots. The Russian turned aside a one-timer from the right faceoff circle by defenseman Dennis Wideman with 2:28 remaining in the extra session, then snagged Savard's shot off the rebound from alone on the right side with his glove.

"I felt good out there," Khabibulin said. "Guys played good in front of me and worked hard. That is all you can ask."

Sharp was awarded a penalty shot at 2:44 of overtime after being tripped up from behind by Boston defenseman Aaron Ward. But Thomas was up to the task, using his stick to prevent Sharp from firing the puck between his pads.

After losing their first two games of the season in regulation, the Blackhawks have earned at least one point in 11 of their last 12 contests (7-1-4).

Both teams went 1-for-7 on the power play. Kane questioned Chicago's approach with the man advantage.

"I don't think we knew what we were doing out there tonight," the 2008 Calder Trophy winner said. "They just left us on the perimeter and we never pressured the goalie. We needed to put shots on the net."






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    Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1  Final - 2OTNov 12 11:57 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL IN SHOOTOUT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 1 0 0 (2) 2
    CHICAGO 0 0 1 0 (1) 1 FINAL IN SHOOTOUT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 4 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    19:06
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 2 (CAM BARKER, PATRICK KANE) 9:10
    OT: NONE
    SO: CHI - JONAT

    Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1  Final - 2OTNov 12 11:41 PM


  • NHL
    END OF OT 1ST 2ND 3RD OT TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 1 0 0 1
    CHICAGO 0 0 1 0 1 END OF OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 4 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    19:06
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 2 (CAM BARKER, PATRICK KANE) 9:10
    OT: NONE
    MISSED PENALTY SHOTS:

    Nov 12 11:35 PM
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  • NHL
    END OF THE 3RD GOING INTO OT
    1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 1 0 1
    CHICAGO 0 0 1 1 GOING INTO OT
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 4 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    19:06
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 2 (CAM BARKER, PATRICK KANE) 9:10
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --

    Nov 12 11:24 PM
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    Bruins 1, Blackhawks 1  3rd - 5:00Nov 12 11:14 PM
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    Bruins 1, Blackhawks 1  3rd - 8:16Nov 12 11:10 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 1
    CHICAGO 1
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) JONATHAN TOEWS 2 (CAM BARKER, PATRICK KANE) 9:10

    Bruins 1, Blackhawks 1  3rd - 10:50Nov 12 11:04 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 1 1
    CHICAGO 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 4 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    19:06
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOS 6 14 20
    CHI 18 9 27
    GOALIES: B

    Nov 12 10:31 PM


  • NHL
    BOSTON 1
    CHICAGO 0
    2ND PRD: BOS - (PP) MARCO STURM 4 (ZDENO CHARA, PATRICE BERGERON)
    19:06

    Bruins 1, Blackhawks 0  2nd - 0:54Nov 12 10:30 PM
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  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOSTON 0 0
    CHICAGO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    BOS 6 6
    CHI 18 18
    GOALIES: BOS - TIM THOMAS
    CHI - NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN

    Nov 12 9:39 PM
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