Going into this series, I always thought that there would be a couple of thrilling overtime games. Little did I know that game one would be a daunting 112 minutes of tough ice time before a winner would prevail. This game was the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup history, which is mind-boggling to think about.
Game one of this series was exactly what most thought it would be, a physical, ugly and grind-it-out style of game. The Bruins have always been known for their stellar physical play, but last night at times it seemed that Hawks were taking it to the Bruins. In the 1st period, the Bruins came out strong, and seemed to be ready to continue their outstanding play from the Eastern Conference Finals. Thirteen minutes and eleven seconds into the first period, Milan Lucic scored a power-play goal (assisted by Nathan Horton, David Krejci) that would give the B’s the 1-0 advantage. Lucic wasn’t done there though, 51 seconds into the second period Lucic would get his second goal off an assist from none other than Krejci. At this point it seemed that the B’s had taken total control of this game, and the momentum. Rask was standing on his head much like he had done this whole post-season so far. However, a little more than minutes after Lucic gave the B’s a two goal advantage, Chicago’s Brandon Saad would net his first goal in these playoffs.
Going into the third period with a 2-1 lead was something that Bruin fans felt comfortable with because Tuukka Rask was between the pipes. With a little over six minutes gone by in the third, Patrice Bergeron would wrist a nasty shot that Crawford had no chance of saving (assisted by Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic). Once again the Blackhawks would answer rather quickly, as Dave Bolland would sneak one past Rask (assisted by Andrew Shaw) to make it a 3-2 game with twelve minutes left in the period. From this point on, the Blackhawks had taken back all the momentum that the Bruins seemed to control. The Hawks were beating the Bruins to all the loose pucks, winning the battle on the boards, and just flat out playing more aggressive. With 7:46 left in the third, Blackhawks Johnny Oduya would tie the game with a shot that would trickle of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and slide right past Rask into the net. Regulation would end deadlocked at three goals apiece, and at that point nobody was ready for what was about to take place.
The first two overtimes were full of many scoring chances for both teams, and the Bruins even went on a couple of power-plays that they couldn’t capitalize on. Both periods seemed to be evenly played for the most part, and no end was insight at this point. The start of the third overtime, the Bruins came out and dominated with multiple scoring chances. The players were worn out for both teams, and at this point in a hockey game it always seems to come down to a “freak” goal. After 52 minutes of overtime hockey had been played, Blackhawks Andrew Shaw skated in front of the net, and tipped David Bolland’s shot into the back of the net to complete the comeback. It wasn’t the prettiest of games, which was echoed by Shaw; “We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty at that point. You could tell both teams were physically exhausted.”
There are a variety of opinions on how they felt the Bruins played overall in game one. I have to agree with what Coach Claude Julien said though, “Not disappointed in our effort, there are certain things you’re going to want to fix for the next game. But as far as the game is concerned, it was a hard-fought game.” With game two set to play on Saturday both teams should get plenty of rest, and be ready to go when it’s time to drop the puck.
Blackhawks won eight of their last nine (10-1 at home in the playoffs)
This was the first game between the two teams since October 15, 2011. Boston won that game in the shootout 3-2.
Brandon Saad scored his first goal for the Blackhawks, which ended his drought.
Rask hadn’t let a goal past him in 149 minutes, which was scored by the Pens in game three (Brandon Saad scored the goal). Rask stopped a total of 59 shots.
The Bruins penalty-killing unit continues its success, as it killed off a 5-3 advantage that the Blackhawks had.
Chara has 45:05 minutes of ice-time and only registered one shot on net (was a +1 for the game)
3. Tyler Seguin: In just 29:18 total ice-time, Seguin registered a total of 8 shots, and had a couple of scoring chances. This is the most impressive we have seen him play this post-season (finished with a -1)
2. Milan Lucic: In 38:14 total ice-time, Lucic registered two goals and an assist (finished with a +1)
1. Tuukka Rask: Wasn’t his best performance, as he was due for a bad game. Rask did however play terrific at times, and stopped a total of 59 shots.
Game two is Saturday at the United Center.