Early in what would be the longest night of anyone's recent hockey life, Andrew Shaw sized things up. The bristly, fearless Blackhawks antagonizer went face-to-torso with the Bruins' Zdeno Chara while crashing to the net, pushing and shoving with the 6-foot-9 defenseman, giving up about a foot but nothing else.

It was a long way from how things ended Wednesday night in Game 1, but not as far as one might think.

There was Shaw, resolutely in the line of fire in the third overtime at the United Center, crashing into traffic in front of the Bruins' net and getting in the way in the best way possible. His deflection of a deflection of a Michal Rozsival slap shot was the game-winner in a 4-3 epic that gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

"It's the Stanley Cup playoffs, something you dream about as a kid," Shaw said. "When the opportunity is there, you have to seize it.

"Rozie got a nice shot from the point. I just happened to be going to the net and it kind of just went off my leg into the net. It was an exciting moment."

By the time things turned into a slog, by the time legs became gelatinous and heads woozy and the teams had dispensed 50-something hits upon one another, the night seemed inextricably headed to one fateful bounce. But either side was going to have to work for it, pursuing it with abandon.

No better pursuer than Shaw, the professional irritant who aims to displease, but who also has just enough scoring knack — he has five goals now in this postseason — and sense to work in the hard areas to make himself that much more annoying.