Final: Chicago 4, Boston 3 (3OT)
Recap: In a game that spanned a six-hour broadcast on NBC, Milan Lucic scored the first goal of the series 13:11 into Game 1, burying a nice touch pass from Nathan Horton after David Krejci retrieved the puck behind Corey Crawford’s net, staking Boston to a 1-0 lead.
After Lucic made it 2-0 at the 0:51 mark of the second, a ‘Hawk took the puck away from Horton in the corner and set up Brandon Saad for his first of the playoffs, as Chicago cut the lead in half. Boston seemed to have the game in control with 6:09 gone in the third, as Patrice Bergeron scored his sixth goal of the postseason on the power-play, but a wretched turnover by Torey Krug set up a Dave Bolland goal and Johnny Oduya knotted things up with 7:46 to play in regulation.
The Bruins dominated the first OT after spending what felt like the entirety of the second and third periods in their own end, following up one golden chance after another. In the final minute of the second overtime, Zdeno Chara caught iron on a shot from the point during a Bruins power play.
In the third extra session (the sixth period?), Kaspars Daugavins pulled a Glen Wesley by missing what looked like a slam-dunk goal. With 7:52 to go until a fourth overtime period, Michal Rozsival’s shot from the point deflected twice, ultimately ricocheting off Andrew Shaw and past Tuukka Rask, giving Chicago the victory in the 112-minute long series opener.
Series: Chicago leads 1-0
Playoff Records: I’m too tired. Look them up yourself.
Key Play of the Game: Oh, Daug Man.
Connolly’s Commendations: Lucic really brought his A-game tonight, as did his linemates. David Krejci and Lucic were crafty as all hell with the puck, which is expected of the former but made the latter’s performance all the more impressive. No. 17 was a factor on all three goals (he assisted on Bergeron’s tally), Krejci had two helpers and Horton (one assist) continues to boost his league-leading plus-minus rating.
Dennis Seidenberg, forever the unsung hero, was a horse in this one. The German blueliner blocked nine shots and dished out seven hits in a team-high, Energizer Bunny-like 48:36 of ice time.
Rask finished the evening with 59 stops, which is mighty impressive, but Crawford was even better down the other end of the rink, stopping more high-quality scoring chances in one night than I think I’ve ever seen one goaltender thwart before.
Connolly’s Critiques: Chris Kelly just hit rock bottom. The veteran center was minus-3 and never even attempted a shot on goal in over 27 minutes of ice time. Twenty. Seven. Minutes. All the while, he went 7-for-22 on faceoffs, good for a 32 percent “success” rate. Yeeouch.
Rough night for the youngster Krug, who made some poor decisions with the puck throughout the night – none worse than the one on the Bolland goal – but sort of redeemed himself by settling down in overtime.
Brad Marchand seemed off nearly all night. Boston’s resident agitator extraordinaire showed his penchant for chippiness, but once the game went past regulation, No. 63 just looked gassed.
Notes: Horton left during one of Boston's power plays in overtime, with what many are assuming is a shoulder injury. He did not return and coach Claude Julien said the B’s medical team hadn’t finished evaluating him. … Boston fell to 0-7 all-time in overtime games on the road in the Stanley Cup Final. … Tonight’s game was the longest of this postseason at 52:08 of overtime and stands as the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Final history.
Final Thoughts: Good luck to the Bruins in their effort to regroup from this one. Those missed opportunities that should’ve amounted to at least one puck finding its way to the back of the net are going to haunt their dreams over the next few days. Hopefully, by the time Game 2 arrives, they’ll have gotten over the heartache and will be ready to try to tie this series up.
Next: Game 2 will take place at United Center in Chicago on Saturday night at 8 o’clock.