Chicago versus Boston. An Original Six Stanley Cup Final matchup for the first time since 1979. With two evenly matched teams, the series will become an instant classic and boy Game One surely did not disappoint as the Hawks defeated the Bruins in triple overtime.
The media frenzy and all the anticipation led up to puck drop on Wednesday Night at the United Center. Both teams came out fast and aggressive, trying to grab to first goal of the series. Despite some hard hitting by the Blackhawks, the Bruins took an early lead with a goal by Milan Lucic.
Lucic would add another one in the second to make the game 2-0 in favor of Boston. But the Hawks certainly weren’t going to go down that easy.
20 year old, Brandon Saad came up with a huge goal to put the Hawks on the board. It was also Saad’s first career playoff goal. The Hawks gained momentum from the first goal and came with a flurry of chances later on in the second. But Tuuka Rask stood strong and preserved the lead for Boston.
After Boston took their two goal lead back early in the third, the Hawks stormed back in desperation not wanting to drop Game One at home. Dave Bolland cut the Bruins’ lead back down to one on a great feed from Andrew Shaw. Four minutes later, the Hawks finally got the break they needed. Johnny Oduya fired a shot from the blue line, which deflected in off of a Bruins skate.
It looked like the Hawks were going to finish the Bruins off in regulation but just couldn’t manage to beat Rask, who was sharp all night. The two teams were tied at three after the third period. And little did anyone know, this game would take three more periods.
Both goalies were great throughout the three overtime periods, but Corey Crawford was phenomenal constantly fighting off great chances by Boston. If there were any Crawford doubters going in to Wednesday, they were definitely quieted by Corey tonight.
As the second overtime period was ticking down, the Hawks made their second mental error with another two many men penalty. And it almost came back to bite them. Zdeno Chara came just inches from ending this game but barely got the inside of the post.
And then there was a third overtime. And it took over half of that period for the game to be settled. After Crawford stood on his head some more, Michal Rozsival fired a shot that deflected off of Bolland and then off of Shaw and into the back of the net to give the Hawks the thrilling victory in overtime.
Both teams are understandably drained and will get a much needed two days of rest. Will Boston be able to bounce back from this? We will find out Saturday night.