It only took an epic Game 1 at United Center to realize that the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Bruins and Blackhawks could live up to our wildest expectations. The Bruins fell in a triple overtime classic, 4-3, Wednesday night/Thursday morning as Chicago's Dave Bolland had his shot deflect off two players, including teammate Andrew Shaw (who was credited with the game-winner), eventually finding the net. The shot gave Chicago a 1-0 series lead over Boston in the best-of-seven showdown.
Both teams will be happy to have an extra day off since Game 2 isn’t until Saturday (8 p.m., NBC). The first two OTs were crazy as Chicago survived a too many men penalty and Nathan Horton departed with an upper body injury, never to return.
Torey Krug had his worst game of the postseason as his turnover directly led to Chicago’s second goal by Bolland at 8:00 in the third period. The Blackhawks received some luck as well as Johnny Oduya’s shot would have gone wide of the net but it went off Andrew Ference’s skate with 7:46 left in regulation to tie it at 3.
Chicago netminder Corey Crawford came out strong with an outstanding glove save on Brad Marchand in the first period. Milan Lucic scored the first goal of the series at 13:11 after some tic-tac-toe passing from David Krejci and Nathan Horton. It was the fifth game in a row that Boston scored the opening tally. Lucic added a second goal early in the second period as he caused a turnover in the neutral zone then finished a one-timer from Krejci. Chicago bounced back quickly as Saad took advantage of a turnover and sniped a shot over Tuukka Rask’s glove. It was his first goal allowed by Rask in 129:36 (Game 3 vs. Pittsburgh). Boston also survived a 5-on-3 that was partly due to its usual too many men on the ice penalty. Still, they continued to win the special teams battle as Patrice Bergeron cashed in their first power play opportunity at 6:09 in the third period from Tyler Seguin and Lucic.
What they'll be saying:By the timeit got to the third overtime, you had the feeling that whichever team came out on top would count the win among the greatest in franchise history. This game was that good and considering the stakes, it will be discussed for years to come.
Unfortunately for Bruins fans, the Blackhawks were the ones celebrating early Thursday morning thanks to a couple of deflections off the stick of Bolland. Had it been a clean shot, there was little doubt that Rask would have nabbed it as he and Chicago netminder Corey Crawford were as good as advertised all night. Rask finished with a whopping 59 saves in a losing effort while Crawford blocked 51 total. The Bruins had countless opportunities to end it, including in the last few seconds of the second overtime when Jaromir Jagr nearly deflected one into the net. Instead it hit the post and the fatigued B's hit the United Center locker room once again.
The big takeaway from the game for Boston, other than the fact that it is in a hole for the first time since Round 1, is that Horton could be very well be done for the series. Head coach Claude Julien didn't offer up much in the postgame press conference, only saying: "Nothing right now because there's nothing to say because our doctors haven't finalized the evaluation properly." - Matt Burke