Hawks-Bruins Game 1
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Corey Crawford just kept repeating the words to himself as the game continued, and continued, and continued.
“I was just trying to tell myself to make the next save and then we’re going to score on the next shot,” Crawford said. “I was just telling myself that the whole (overtime).”
And finally, in the third overtime, the Chicago Blackhawks did score on that next shot.
Andrew Shaw deflected the winning shot off his leg with 7:52 remaining in the third overtime, and Crawford stopped 51 shots in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 comeback victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. It was the fifth-longest game in Cup history, and one that didn’t seem destined for anywhere near overtime early in the third period, when the Bruins were very much in control. But the Blackhawks kept coming on one end, and Crawford shut things down on the other.
“It’s good to win that one after playing for so long,” Crawford said. “We battled hard all game, and you want to come away with the win after that many minutes of playing.”
[Watch: Crawford's spectacular first-period save]
Two deflections ended it after so many minutes of playing. Michal Rozsival had the initial shot, which was tipped by Bolland before deflecting off Shaw’s leg. It was going to take something big, and probably redirected, to beat the outstanding Tuukka Rask, and the Blackhawks got it.
Shaw had another word for it regarding his part.
“Luck,” he said. “It was kind of (Bryan) Bickell finishing his check. The puck goes to the point. Rozsival gets a nice shot through and Bolland got his stick on it. I just happened to be going to the net wide. It kind of went off my leg into the net.”
Bolland said the goal was par for the overtime course.
“For sure, it wasn’t going to be a pretty one,” he said. “Whatever happens, it’s going to be an ugly goal.”
[Watch: Saad puts the Blackhawks on the board]
A lot of guys on both ends, understandably, logged a lot of minutes in this one. Duncan Keith played a game-high 48 minutes, 40 seconds, narrowly edging Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg for on-ice time (48:36). The Blackhawks were credited with 61 hits, the Bruins 59. Boston managed 54 total shots while the Blackhawks threw 63 at Rask.
Crawford came up big in the overtimes, and he had to. The Bruins had the bulk of the great scoring opportunities in the extra time, and Crawford – with a little help from Dave Bolland twice and a post once – stood tall.
[Watch: Boston narrowly misses double-overtime winner]
“You can't even put that into words. He made some unbelievable saves,” Jonathan Toews said. “You know you're going to need some big stops. One went off the posts there. A couple times we gave up a few too many chances off the rush. He was there every single time.”
The fact this even got to overtime was a surprise. The Bruins looked like they were going to get the regulation victory when Patrice Bergeron put them up, 3-1, on a power-play goal about six minutes into the third period. The Bruins were potent with their stifling defense and will to throw sticks and bodies in front of pucks – they had 40 blocked shots, including 21 through the first two periods.
But about two minutes after Bergeron’s goal, the Blackhawks’ comeback was on. Bolland, off a great pass from Shaw, cut the Bruins lead to 3-2. Then about four minutes later, Johnny Oduya’s shot went off Andrew Ference’s skate and past Rask to even it at 3.
[Watch: Dave Bolland cuts Boston's lead to one]
[Watch: Johnny Oduya's game-tying goal]
Then the marathon began. Close calls for both teams, two too-many-men penalties for the Blackhawks – they killed off both – and great goaltending at both ends.
The Blackhawks probably didn’t want to play another multi-overtime game after that double-overtime Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. But it’s the postseason, and you do what you have to do. On Wednesday, they did again.
“It was deflating giving up the power-play goal to make it 3-1. Against a team like Boston that’s not a position you want to be in,” Patrick Sharp said. “But our team has been down like that before and has been resilient all year. It was a huge comeback.’’