By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
The clock had just struck midnight in Chicago when Andrew Shaw brought three overtimes to an end.
The 21-year-old winger deflected a shot off his right leg and past Tuukka Rask just over 12 minutes into the third overtime on Wednesday night, sealing a 4-3 comeback victory for the Blackhawks and a 1-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The goal was Shaw's fifth of the postseason and first in his last four games. It wasn't pretty, but it brought an end to the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Finals history, just when it was beginning to look like the game might go on four a couple more hours.
''We knew it wasn't going to be pretty at that point,'' Shaw said. ''You could tell both teams were physically exhausted. We preached it -- go to the net, you'll find a way to get a greasy goal. We did a heck of a job of it there in the third overtime.''
Game 1 ended up taking about four-and-a-half hours in total, so both teams will take full advantage of their two off-days between now and Game 2 on Saturday night.
The Bruins had a lead in this one, earning a 3-1 lead on the powerplay just over six minutes into the third period when Patrice Bergeron blasted a one-timer over Corey Crawford's glove hand.
But it was all Hawks from there.
Dave Bolland answered Bergeron's goal with a one-timer of his own just two minutes later, followed by a Johnny Oduya slapper that trickled past Rask and tied the game at three with eight minutes left in the third.
''We were up two goals and all of a sudden the game was tied,'' said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
It was at this point that Rask and Crawford starting turning everything away. For the rest of the third period and through two full overtimes, the two goalies seemed capable of stopping any madness that transpired in front of them.
"Both teams are just kicking, trying to survive," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. "Every time you go back on the ice, you try and get that feeling that it’s going to be that one chance that makes the difference."
Flailing bodies and pucks hitting pipes became commonplace. Crawford made 22 saves in the first two overtimes to Rask's 18. In total, 117 shots were fired.
These goaltending appearances should come as little surprise. Crawford and Rask rank first and second in the league in wins, goals against average, saves and save percentage during these playoffs. The two are considerable Conn Smythe candidates depending on which team wins the cup.
The Krejci/Horton/Lucic line continued to produce rapidly for Boston, with the trio still ranking 1/2/3 in the league in scoring this postseason. Lucic had two goals and an assist on Wednesday while Krejci added two helpers, as well.
Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith and Bryan Bickell all went without a point in over five-and-a-half periods of play on Wednesday, and the Hawks were still able to win, speaking to the real depth of this team. Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad are the only players on the top two lines that recorded points -- one apiece.
Game 2 between the Blackhawks and Bruins is slated to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday night in Chicago.