Hawks Beat Bruins 4-3 in Triple OT
Thursday, June 13, 2013
That was exhausting!
After playing nearly two full games in one night, the Boston Bruins saw their 5-game postseason winning streak snapped with a 4-3 triple overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
This Original Six match-up was as advertised in game one. Both teams showed skill, toughness and a desire to do anything possible to win. And the Blackhawks were just a little better (and luckier) than the Bruins which is why they won game 1.
After a tight checking first 13 minutes of the game, the Bruins scored first on a pretty play from David Krejci to Nathan Horton to Milan Lucic for a quick wrist shot that beat Chicago's Corey Crawford. It was another goal for Boston's top line which struggled during the regular season but has been lights out in the playoffs.
A 1-0 lead after one was quickly added to by Lucic less than a minute into the second when Rask mad a sensational save on Marian Hossa on one end. Seconds later, at the other end of the ice, Krejci found Lucic for a blast from 31 feet away and it was 2-0 Boston.
Instead of losing their cool like the Penguins did in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Blackhawks responded quickly. Just over two minutes later, a Nathan Horton turnover in the Boston zone allowed Marian Hossa to find rookie Brandon Saad who's wrist shot from the left wing beat Rask high glove-side to cut the Bruins lead to 2-1.
With the Chicago crowd now into the game, it seemed to energize the Blackhawks.
An interference call against Horton gave Chicago their first power play at 7:37 of the second. To make matters worse for Boston, :43 seconds later they were called for too many men on the ice when the puck hit Krejci who was coming on to the ice before his teammate had made it into the bench. It gave the Hawks a 5-on-3.
But Boston's defense and Rask came up big blocking shot after shot and Chicago came up empty.
The home team would get a third power play in the second period when Zdeno Chara got called for a high stick on Andrew Shaw whose acting job and flop bought the whistle. Chara seemes to hit Shaw in the chest with his stick but Shaw snapped his head back acting as if the stick was to his chin. Again, Boston killed it off.
Thanks to those three power plays, Chicago enjoyed a 16-6 advantage in shots in the second period.
In the third, Boston incresed its lead to 3-1 when Patrice Bergeron scored a rare power play goal for the Bruins at 6:09. Seguin and Lucic assisted. It was Boston's first power play opportunity of the game.
But, moments later at the 8:00 mark, Torey Krug tried to clear the zone by throwing the puck across ice. It was picked off by Andrew Shaw who found Dave Bolland for the one-timer which beat Rask making it 3-2.
Then, it was offense by accident for the Hawks as defenseman Johnny Oduya's slapper from the point was going wide of ther net, it hit the skate of Andrew Ference and ended up in the back of the net at 12:14 for a 3-3 tie.
A lesser team would have crumbled amidst such adversity. Not the Bruins.
After surviving another period controlled by Chicago (outshot Boston 15-8 in the third), Boston calmly went to overtime where they have excelled this postseason (5-1).
After controlling play for the first 12 minutes of period four, the tired Hawks got whistled for too many men on the ice giving Boston its second power play opportunity of the night. Despite three good opportunities, and despite outplaying Chicago in the first overtime, Boston failed to score. It was off to double overtime.
After outplaying the Hawks in the first OT, Boston was outplayed by Chicago in the second overtime. Play seemed much slower with the players tiring more by the minute.
Then, with a minute to go in the second overtime, Chicago got called for too many on the ice again.
With seconds left in the second OT, Chara's blast deflected off the skate of Jaromir Hagr and hit the post. It was off to overtime #3 - an overtime that would have Boston start on the power play.
The Bruins came out flying in the first 5 minutes of the third overtime but could not cash in on some golden opportunities.
Then, at 12:08 of the third overtime, a shot that was deflected twice, last touched Andrew Shaw beating Rask for the game winner.
-One of the big reasons for Boston's managed to stay in game 1 was their willingness to sacrafice their bodies to block shots. Through the first two periods, Boston blocked 21 Chicago shots to just 9 for the Blackhawks. Many of those blocks came during Chicago's three power plays in the second period which included a 5-on-3. In regulation, the Bruins blocked 24 shots by the Hawks and they blocked 40 for the entire game.
-While the Blackhawks enjoyed a decided edge in shots on goal thru the first three periods (39-25), other numbers were very even between the two teams. Hits were 39-35 in favor of Chicago while faceoffs won were 34-33 in favor of Boston. Boston did outshoot Chicago in the first overtime 11-6 and had the better scoring opportunities. But Chicago did finish with a 63-54 edge for the game in shots on goal.
-Corey Crawford and Tuukka Rask were the NHL's best two goaltenders this postseason entering game 1 with Crawford holding a slight edge on Rask in goals against average (1.74 to 1.75) and Rask holding the edge in save percentage (.943 to .935). Both goalies played well (Rask 59 saves, Crawford 51 saves.) Rask also had little chance stopping 3 of the 4 goals scored by Chicago.
-Much like Boston did with Pittsburgh's superstars in the Eastern Conference Finals, they were able to shutdown Blackhawks sniper Patrick Kane in game one. Kane had 0 goals and 0 assists and was a -1 for the game. Coming into the series, Kane had 6 goals and 8 assists in 17 games this postseason. He registered more than a point per game during the regular season with 23 goals and 32 assists in 47 games.
-Game 2 of the series will be played Saturday night at 8pm in Chicago and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network. Monday night's game 3 in Boston will also be televised on the NBC Sports Network while games 4-7 are scheduled to be on NBC like a Wednesday night's game 1.