Stanley Cup Final: Blackhawks beat Bruins 4-3 in epic triple-overtime Game 1 thriller
Back in 2010, the NHL’s TV campaign for the Stanley Cup playoffs featured the theme, “History will be made.”
Three years later, it was.
Andrew Shaw’s redirection past Tuukka Rask 12:08 into the third overtime of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final gave Chicago a 4-3 win over Boston and a 1-0 series lead after the fifth-longest game in Finals history.
"It was a great shot, great tip. ... Unbelievable," Shaw told NBC's Pierre McGuire after scoring the winner. "We deserve this. It was a great battle for us."
The NHL, still trying to gain its reputation back after locking out its players for the second time in eight years, couldn’t have asked for a better start to the championship series.
Boston looked like it was going to leave the United Center with a win when Kaspars Daugavins had a chance to shovel the puck in the net eight minutes into the third overtime, but instead tried to backhand it past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, and was denied by a combination of the Blackhawk netminder and the outstretched stick of defenseman Johnny Oduya.
"Crawford was great. He kept us in there," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters.
Crawford finished with 51 saves, while Rask denied 59 shots by Chicago.
The Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead behind power forward Milan Lucic. The Vancouver native scored at the 13:11 mark of the first period on a pretty feed by linemates Nathan Horton and David Krejci.
And that line wasn’t done.
Lucic's second goal of the night put the B’s up 2-0 just 49 seconds into the second period off another pass by Krejci. The line of Lucic-Horton-Krejci now has 21 goals and 57 points in the playoffs, and they're a combined plus-51.
But, the Hawks — the best team in the NHL all season — responded. Rookie Brandon Saad put Chicago on the board just over two minutes later with a rocket over the glove of Rask.
Chicago had the chance to tie the game shortly after when Boston took two penalties within 43 seconds of each other, but the Hawks couldn’t put the puck past Rask — in fact, they didn’t manage a shot on goal with the two-man advantage.
Boston went up 3-1 on a snipe that rang off the post by Patrice Bergeron six minutes into the third. The deafening ping silenced the Madhouse on Madison.
But once again, Chicago stormed back.
Less than two minutes after Bergeron's goal, overtime hero Shaw fed Dave Bolland in the slot and Bolland beat Rask stick side to cut the Bruins' lead to one, and the crowd got back into it.
A little more than two minutes later, Oduya's shot from the point bounced off the skate of Bruin Andrew Ference and slid across the goal line to tie the game at 3-all.
"It's never easy to lose a game when you're in the third overtime period," Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters. "There's certain things you're going to want to fix for next game, but as far as the game's concerned, it was a hard-fought game."
Chicago was able to survive despite getting two penalties in overtime for having too many men on the ice.
Boston's Zdeno Chara hit the post in the final seconds of the second overtime on the power play, and Crawford denied a rebound chance seconds after Chara's shot bounced off the iron.
The fatigue was starting to be a factor for both teams. Passes were weaker and shifts were shorter. But before complete exhaustion set in, Michal Rozsival's shot from the blue line deflected off Bolland, then bounced off Shaw's leg and into the net, bringing the 22,110 fans out of their seats in jubilation.
Game 2 is Saturday at 6 p.m. MDT in Chicago.
When asked how his team will prepare for Game 2, Shaw said, "Get some sleep."
He'll sleep well knowing that, for now, he's the most popular guy in the Windy City.
Michael Smith is an intern in the news section of DeseretNews.com. A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in the fall.
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