The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins battled for 112 grueling minutes in the fifth-longest Stanley Cup Final game in NHL history, until an Andrew Shaw deflection goal at 12:08 of triple overtime handed Game 1 to the home team, 4-3.
The game-winner came after the Blackhawks successfully pinched in the offensive zone, with the puck ending up on defenseman Michal Rozsival’s stick at the top of the zone. He shoveled the puck toward the Bruins goal, and it deflected off of a screening Dave Bolland in the slot. The puck then pinballed off the knee of forward Andrew Shaw and in behind goalie Tuukka Rask, setting off a raucous celebration inside United Center.
“It’s what we needed to do,” said Shaw. “We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty at this point.”
It wasn’t, and it wasn’t going to be. The Blackhawks and Bruins played the kind of game many expected: brutal and tough, with players earning every inch of ice against their opponents.
Outside of United Center on Wednesday night, there was torrential rain, severe storms and tornadoes spotted roughly 30 miles away from Chicago. Inside of United Center, there was controlled chaos.
The Bruins looked like they were on the verge of putting the game away in the third period.
A pair of Milan Lucic goals had spotted them a 2-0 lead; Brandon Saad’s first of the playoffs for the Blackhawks cut the lead 2:17 after Lucic’s second goal in the second period. Then, in the third, Patrice Bergeron’s bullet of a shot beat Corey Crawford from the left side, giving the Bruins a power-play goal on their first opportunity of the series and a 3-1 lead.
Dave Bolland cut the lead to 3-2 with 12 minutes left in regulation, on a takeaway by Andrew Shaw that became a pass to Bolland for a one-timer. Johnny Oduya tied the game just over four minutes later with a shot that glanced off the left skate of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and past Rask.
Then Shaw won it after 52:08 of overtime hockey, the fifth longest game in Final history.
A few reactions to Game 1:
• Rask and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford both had moments of brilliance. Rask ended up with 59 saves on 63 shots, but his best period was the second frame when he stopped 15 of 16. Crawford was the better goalie of the two in overtime, although he got an assist from the right post on a Zdeno Chara power-play blast in double overtime.
• The Blackhawks had 132 shot attempts in Game 1, compared to 85 for the Boston Bruins. That’s far too much time with the puck for Chicago if you’re Boston.
• Chicago took two "too many men on the ice" penalties in overtime. They only had three bench minors all season.
• If you’re looking for the best sign from Game 1 for the Blackhawks – besides that ‘W’ next to their names – it’s that Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa combined for a single assist. Yes, that’s actually a good sign: It means the grunts did it again for the Blackhawks, as Saad, Bolland, Oduya and Shaw were your goal scorers. Their champions were neutralized in Game 1; their championship caliber depth, however, came through in the clutch.
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• Bruins' Tuukka Rask on Game 1 loss: 'We just gave it away'