June 12, 2013
United Center, Chicago, IL
#1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #3 Boston Bruins
The stakes could not get any higher.
Game One of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final was about to begin, one that would see the President’s Trophy winners, the Chicago Blackhawks, face off against the Boston Bruins. One team had dominated the regular season, and one, the playoffs. Both the Bruins and the Blackhawks had come off impressive series wins in their respective Conference Finals, with the Bruins shutting down the Pittsburgh Penguins in a four-game sweep, and Chicago sealing the deal against the L.A. Kings in five games.
This game would also mark the first game between Eastern and Western Conference teams in 2013, due to the NHL lockout. The fact that fans actually got to witness a Stanley Cup Final this season was a miracle in itself, as many had given up hope before the season was saved in the new year.
Early on, the Bruins’ physical play was matched by the Blackhawks, and the speed of Chicago was proving too much to handle. The ‘Hawks spent a good portion of the first 10 minutes in the offensive zone, but failed to strike. The rush gave many good opportunities, with Brandon Saad having one of the better looks at the net, but Tuukka Rask kept it tied at 0.
The Bruins turned the tide, and it was the Blackhawks’ turn to stave off an offensive wave. Brad Marchand had a huge opportunity to put the Bruins on top, but Corey Crawford flashed the leather for a spectacular save. Crawford could only bail the ‘Hawks out for so long, however, and Milan Lucic finally broke the ice just two minutes later. Both Blackhawks defensemen followed David Krejci behind the net, and the positioning left a wide-open #17, who sniped one against the helpless Crawford. The first period would end without any other scoring, and the Bruins would take the 1-0 lead as well as a 11-8 advantage in shots to the room.
The Bruins kept up the offense in the second, pressuring the Blackhawks into their own end, and shutting down their rushes once they managed to gain possession. It was only a matter of time before the Bruins struck again. Lucic did just that, when a smooth drop pass from Krejci found his stick just 50 seconds into the game.
The Bruins’ 2-goal lead wasn’t built to last , though, and Brandon Saad dug into it just over two minutes later. A great fore-check led to possession in the offensive zone, and a quick release found its was past the glove of Rask, and sent the unusually quiet United Center into a frenzy.The Blackhawks would keep the offensive pressure coming, and the Bruins were in deep trouble it seemed, unable to hold the puck for very long. The ‘Hawks couldn’t get any more offense before the buzzer though, and the period ended with the Bruins up by a goal.
The third period started out conservative for both teams, with the Blackhawks looking for opportunities, but the Bruins staying tight. A battle in the Chicago zone knocked the puck out to Tyler Seguin, who made a dish to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron had a rocket of a shot, and it went post-in behind Crawford, regaining the Bruins’ two goal lead.
Just a minute later, Torey Krug gave the puck away to Andrew Shaw up the middle. Shaw re-entered the zone, and fed a cross-ice pass to Dave Bolland, who put it in the gaping net to keep the game within reach. Shaw’s great jumping play batted down the puck, but Krug would see less ice after that,after tossing it right up the middle in the first place.
After a couple of glorious chances denied by Crawford, the Blackhawks got their chance. The fourth line was out with 7 minutes to go, and keeping the puck in the Bruins zone. Michael Frolik took the puck low, spun, and fed it to the point. Johnny Oduya took a low shot, which careened right off the skate of Andrew Ference to tie the game at 3. The score would stay that way, and both teams headed to overtime. Shots at the end of regulation were 37-25 Chicago.
The first overtime was dominated by the Bruins, who generated several great chances off the rush. Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin had a chance to end it twice, but Crawford kept them in the game. The Blackhawks survived the attack, but couldn’t get a goal for themselves. Double overtime was necessary for the second straight game.
The second overtime was much more balanced, and the Blackhawks generated a few chances of their own. The Bruins had the best opportunity of the frame, where in the final minute, on the power-play, Zdeno Chara hit the post with his point blast, and Corey Crawford lost his stick. the Bruins forwards took a couple more whacks at it, but Crawford closed them off, and the Blackhawks cleared, setting the stage for a third overtime period.
The Blackhawks got their legs under them in the third overtime, and as the clock struck midnight at the United Center, so did Andrew Shaw:
Two deflections and a F-Bomb later, Andrew Shaw ended the fifth-longest Finals game in history with a Blackhawks’ win.
The Blackhawks would have been in trouble if they didn’t win this game. With the Bruins almost perfect at home, it would have been a challenge to re-take the series there, and the pressure would have been on Chicago to win Game Two before going to Boston. A lucky tying goal, as well as a game-winner, gave the Blackhawks the win, even though they never had a lead in the game. The Blackhawks were only three wins away; the final push was on. A tiring effort was well worth it on this night, and the Blackhawks led the series.
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