The Stanley Cup Final arrived at the United Center on Wednesday night for the first time since 2010, and fans began trickling in about an hour before Game 1 between the Blackhawks and the Bruins. They got more than they paid for. Again. And much more. Facing a two-goal third period deficit, the Hawks got scores from Dave Bolland and Johnny Oduya to force overtime, then some spectacular work by Corey Crawford in three extra sessions and then, finally, an Andrew Shaw redirect of a redirect for a 4-3 victory in Game 1 at the United Center. A Michal Rozsival blast from the point hit Dave Bolland in the high slot, which then bounced off Shaw and in for the score and a long, long-awaited celebration at the end of the longest NHL game of the year. A Patrice Bergeron power-play score had boosted the Bruins lead back to two goals early in the third period, but Bolland answered with a score and then Oduya rocketed a shot off the skate of the Bruins' Andrew Ference and into the net for the equalizer with about eight minutes left in the game. That held up until the end of regulation, and Crawford held up after that. The Hawks' netminder made several brilliant, verging-on-inexplicable saves -- while getting help from the near post on a Nathan Horton power play shot -- to keep the Hawks in the game and into their second straight double-overtime contest. The Hawks would have their own chances in the second overtime, most notably when Patrick Kane couldn't finish off a feed from Michal Handzus on the doorstep and Michael Frolik's shot of a rolling puck clanged off the crossbar. But they would hold on thanks to Crawford and friendly iron at the end of the second extra session. With the Bruins on the power play due to a too many men on the ice call, a Zdeno Chara shot deflected off Jaromir Jagr's skate and hit the far post, bouncing back out behind Crawford. And then Milan Lucic whiffed on a chance to punch in the rebound for the game-winner just before time expired and things headed to the third overtime. Two Milan Lucic goals gave the Bruins a crowd-silencing lead, but Brandon Saad's first postseason goal cut the Hawks deficit to 2-1 after two periods of Game 1. The Hawks emerged ready to hit anything and everything, recording 13 hits in the first six and a half minutes alone. But it was a failure to connect that started the Bruins' scoring sequence, with Niklas Hjalmarsson going for the skull-rattler that the Bruins' David Krejci sidestepped.
Hawks win Game 1 epic in 3 OTs
Chicago Tribune | Jun 13