Blackhawks made their luck by getting to the net

Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw celebrates his game-winning, triple-overtime goal against the Bruins...

Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw celebrates his game-winning, triple-overtime goal against the Bruins with teammate Nick Leddy during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final at the United Center in Chicago, June 13, 2013. (JIM YOUNG/Reuters)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:39 PM ET

CHICAGO - A lot of people are going to look at the goal that ended the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup final and chalk it up to bounces.

Even Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who saw a double-deflection get behind him at 12:08 of the third overtime period, shrugged it off that way.

"It sucks right now because it just ended ... We'll regroup on Friday on the ice and it's behind us," he said. "Sometimes you get those bounces and sometimes you don't. Today the bounces didn't go our way. That's hockey."

Blaming luck as the probable cause is likely an easier way to deal with the outcome from the loser's side.

Bruins coach Claude Julien was probably closer to the mark Thursday: "Last night it was Chicago that had the breaks go their way ... you give credit to the team for making those breaks happen."

The fact that Lady Luck appeared to be wearing red Wednesday night only tells part of the story.

A double deflection to end the game might seem fortuitous, but that's misleading.

The Hawks put the odds in their favour with their execution on the play, doing a wonderful job of what the coaches like to call "layering," getting players various distances from the net which helps deal with the puck's trip both to the net with the original shot and back out as a rebound off the goaltender or a carom off the endboards.

The Hawks did it well on the winner by Andrew Shaw. Defenceman Michal Rozsival fired the shot and Chicago forwards Shaw and David Bolland got to the places where they needed to be. Bolland got into the slot near the hash marks and Shaw, who had been crosschecked to the ice in the corner to Rask's left, went to the front of the net near the edge of the blue paint.

With offensive players layered like that, it gives the attacking team two shots at deflecting the puck on its way to the net and two chances at a rebound, depending on how far it comes back out. The Hawks didn't have to worry about the rebound after the puck deflected first off Bolland and then off Shaw -- Bruins defenceman Torey Krug was between them -- and found its way past Rask.

You can't count the number of times you hear guys talk about "going to the net," in the playoffs -- or during the regular season, too, for that matter -- but you won't hear them talk about it quite as colourfully (the colour was blue) as Shaw did in an interview with NBC after the game.

"It's what we needed to do," he said. "Get guys going to the net. We knew it wasn't going to be pretty at this point. It was a great shot, a great set up, ("bleeping"), it was unbelievable. All the guys, we deserved this. It was a great battle for us."

As the Hawks showed in the ending to an epic game, just going to the net isn't good enough.

You need to get there and have a plan.

For the Bruins, they were left to think about the two-goal leads that got away, a shot by Chicago's Johnny Odyua that went in off the skate of Boston defenceman Andrew Ference, a shot by Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara in overtime that went off the post and out, Bruins forward Kaspars Daugavins having Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford down and out but couldn't get off a shot two minutes before Shaw ended it.

"We had the game, up 3-1 in the third. A terrible turnover leads to the second goal and then a bad bounce for the tying goal and we just gave it away," said Rask. "It just looked like it wasn't our night. On our power play, deflection hits the post and can't get it in. There were a lot of loose pucks in front of their net and we couldn't pounce on them. Daugavins has an empty net ... it just wasn't our night, I suppose."

The Hawks made it their night.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


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