Wow! Just wow! Two games for the price of one! The Chicago Blackhawks came back from being down 3-1 in the 3rd period, to force not one overtime, but three overtimes, to eventually secure the 4-3 victory! The victory gave the Hawks the lead in the Stanley Cup Finals 1-0, over the Boston Bruins.
In what feels like a few days ago, the first period was mostly controlled by the Hawks, as the piled on the scoring chances, to ultimately be turned away by Tuuka Rask each time. It was the Bruins, who drew first blood, in the series, as Milan Lucic scored on a wrist shot, at 13:11 of the first, to give Boston a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period of play.
The Bruins practically exploded out of the locker room, for the 2nd period of play, as they immediately piled on scoring chances from the get-go. It only took 51 seconds, for Milan Lucic to add his 2nd goal of the game, to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. 2 minutes later, Brandon Saad, finally found the back of the net, for his first career post-season goal, got the Hawks on the board, before the Bruins started to run away with the game. The remainder of the period went scoreless, and the the Bruins once again went to the locker room with a 1 goal lead.
Early in the 3rd period, arguably the Hawks best Penalty Killer, Michael Frolik, was saddled with a tripping penalty. Frolik’s absence on the Hawks PK unit was very visible, as Patrice Bergeron used his slapshot to foil the typically stingy Hawks Penalty Kill, and give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. Once again, the Hawks struck, to keep the game from becoming a blowout, as Dave Bolland solved Tuuka Rask, to make the score 3-2, in favor of Boston. Later in the 3rd, Johnny Oduya kept the momentum on the Hawks side, as he tied the game at 3, with his slapshot. The game would remain tied, at the end of regulation, and head to overtime.
During overtime, the scoring came to an abrupt halt, as Corey Crawford and Tuuka Rask gobbled up any scoring chance generated by the Hawks and Bruins. A second overtime was required, but by this time it was visible that the players for both teams had been playing an absurd amount of high emotion hockey, as fatigue and frustration were becoming more and more visible, and once again neither team was able to score the goal that would have ended the game. More than half-way through the 3rd(!) overtime, Andrew Shaw was able to deflect the puck past Rask, to give the Hawks an epic 4-3 triple overtime victory over the Boston Bruins, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Hawks lead the series 1-0, and neither team will be sad to have 2 days off, before the series picks up again, in Chicago on Saturday, for a 7:00 PM Puck drop. This was an enormous win for the Hawks, in a game that will likely go down as an all-time classic, in the history of the NHL. This game was a massive loss, for the Bruins, as they must now deal with the demoralization of playing 6(!) periods of hockey, to ultimately come out of it behind where they started, in the series. Don’t think this series is over, because it is far from it’s completion. The Hawks lead the series 1-0, and the Bruins have to deal with the mighty disappointment of losing such a long, hard-fought game. Boston has 2 days to regroup and try again. Hawks fans should know by now that anything can happen, in an NHL playoff series, so stay tuned.