It is a good thing the participants in the Stanley Cup final have two full days off between game 1 and game 2. After the performance they put on through almost 6 full periods of hockey, it is a rest well deserved. In a game that was the 5th longest in Stanley Cup Finals history, Andrew Shaw scored on a the triple-overtime double-deflection off a Michal Roszival point shot to give the Blackhawks a come from behind 4-3 win and keep home ice advantage.
The hometown Blackhawks came out playing the body, trying to show the Bruins that they wouldn’t be pushed around. That, combined with the atmosphere made for a great start to the period. However, that balloon was popped when the effort to take the body backfired on them. Nicklas Hjalmarsson tried to knock David Krejci off stride as the two raced for a loose puck behind the net. Krejci rolled off the hit and picked up the puck, fed a quick pass to Nathan Horton at the side of the net who quickly dished to Milan Lucic in the slot, and the big winger snapped it past Crawford to score the game’s opening goal and taking the wind out of the sails of the crowd. Boston used that goal to start taking the play to the Hawks, and they had the better chances over the last 7 minutes. Boston outshot Chicago 11-8 in the period and went to the room with a 1-0 lead.
Chicago came out in the first minute and had a great scoring chance, but Tuukka Rash stopped Marian Hossa‘s one timer off a Jonathan Toews pass. However, Boston turned around and Lucic scored his second of the game on a goal that Crawford probably should have stopped to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. Brandon Saad answered back for that one pretty quickly, taking a pass from Hossa and one-timing it top corner on Rask after Hossa won a battle along the boards. After the teams exchanged flurries in the offensive end, Chicago got a great chance to even the score with a lengthy two man advantage, but they couldn’t really muster a scoring chance despite a constant offensive zone presence. Chicago got another power play and failed to capitalize, and the last couple minutes of the period was a series of icings with no real scoring opportunities. The second period ended in the same situation as the first, with Chicago trailing by a goal.
While the Hawks couldn’t take advantage of their power play opportunities, Boston did on their first one early in the third as Patrice Bergeron one-timed a Tyler Seguin pass and found the back of the net. Chicago answered less than two minutes later, with David Bolland converting an Andrew Shaw pass to bring Chicago back within one. Johnny Oduya‘s point shot was going wide but went off Andrew Ference‘s skate and past Rask who was out to challenge the shot, making it a tie game with just under 8 minutes to play.
The first overtime was scoreless, but not without opportunities as both goalies stood strong and got some help at times from teammates backing them up. Boston got the only power play of the first extra frame, after a Chicago too many men penalty, but this time Chicago killed it off effectively. So off to the second overtime they went. The biggest thing coming out of the OT period was Nathan Horton leaving the game for the Bruins with what appears to have been a shoulder injury.
The fifth period started off fast and furious, with Chicago spending a lot of time in the Boston end, forcing Rask to make a number of good stops to keep the game going. Understandably the teams slowed down as the period wore on, but with a minute left things changed. Chicago was caught again with too many men, and Boston got a power play that would straddle the intermission if they did not score. Zdeno Chara‘s seeing-eye point shot hit the post and Lucic couldn’t find the handle on the rebound, and Chicago killed the first 52 seconds of the penalty and forced a sixth period.
The Hawks killed the rest of the TMM penalty, and the teams got back to trying not to make the mistake that would wind up in the back of their net. Then, almost 60 full minutes after Oduya’s goal, Roszival walked the blue line and sent a wrister into the crowd in front of the net, deflecting off Bolland and then Shaw to the back of the net.
It was a very exciting game for the most part and it shows signs of things to come. It is going to be one heck of a series.