A look back at the Game 1 classic between the Bruins and Blackhawks

Bruins forward Chris Kelly (left), defenceman Andrew Ference battle for the puck against Blackhawks...

Bruins forward Chris Kelly (left), defenceman Andrew Ference battle for the puck against Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final at the United Center in Chicago, June 12, 2013. (JIM YOUNG/Reuters)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:25 PM ET

CHICAGO - It began in front of a rocking Madhouse on Madison crowd shortly after 7:22 local time and ended to the same tune at the stroke of midnight.

In between, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks here Wednesday delivered a generous dose of just about everything you could want in a championship hockey game.

A half-dozen or so more shifts and it would have been the longest game in the history of the final. As it was, when Chicago’s Andrew Shaw finally scored the winner at 12:08 of the third overtime period, it went into the books as the fifth-longest game to be played in the championship round.

"Let's hope every game is like that," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said Thursday. "It could make for a classic series.

"Maybe in a few years you look back and say that was a great game, that Game 1.

"I don't think either side had that feeling out process, we went right after it right from the drop of the puck."

With an extra day off for players to catch their breath and rest their weary bones, Thursday was also an opportunity to digest some of the memorable moments from a game that will no doubt find a prominent place among the best in the history of the NHL playoffs.

FAST TIMES

How often do you see teams come out in a big game playing tentatively as jitters and strategy take over?

As Kelly said, there was none of that in Game 1 as the first 10 minutes featured a rapid pace and plenty of hits. Incredibly, the tempo rarely let up except, perhaps, in the second overtime period.

"Right from the get-go, I thought the game was fast," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was flowing. It was moving. There were scoring chances off the rush. There was action in (the offensive) zone.

"(The Bruins) take away the critical areas of the ice and you have to work your way through it. At the same time, they've got one of the best rush games we've seen all season."

It will be interesting, of course, to see if that tempo can be sustained in Game 2 given the physical drain of the opener. There's also the possibility that either one or both teams will try to stifle some of that creativity and action that is so pleasing to the eye in favour of a close-checking approach.

Here's hoping not.

DOUBLE DEFLECTION, TRIPLE OVERTIME

The game may have been a classic, but the game-winner was far from it.

With all the good scoring chances through each of the overtime sessions, it took a routine point shot from Michal Rozsival that was cleverly tipped by Dave Bolland before the puck bounced off the knee of Shaw past a helpless Tuukka Rask.

"It's called hockey breaks," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who refused to blame the goal on bad luck. "We got some of them in the Pittsburgh series. That's part of the game. You don't complain about it or use it as an excuse."

COULDA, SHOULA PART 1

Just two minutes or so before Shaw ended it, Bruins winger Kaspars Daugavins came close to winning it for Boston.

After making a move to his backhand, Hawks defenceman Jonny Oduya just barely got his stick on the puck, denying Daugavins an easy finish at an open net.

COULDA, SHOULDA PART 2

After making two big saves on Tyler Seguin in the second overtime period, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford had some luck on his side when Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara had a point shot ring off the right post in the dying seconds.

On the same play, Milan Lucic whiffed at a chance to finish off a hat trick with the game-winner when he couldn't get his stick on the puck.

MARATHON MEN

As expected, Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara was among the workhorses of the night logging 45 minutes and five seconds of ice time over a gruelling 57 shifts.

But he wasn’t even among the top two in ice time on his team, thanks in part to a minor penalty he took in the second period. Dennis Seidenberg led the Bruins with 48:36.

In all, there were four players who played north of 45 minutes, including Hawks defenceman, Duncan Keith.

Going forward, you have to wonder how much weariness becomes an issue even with the extra day off between Games 1 and 2.

Even with the disappointment of the loss, Julien doesn't expect a letdown when Game 2 goes Saturday night at the United Center.

"When you play two games in one night, it's probably a blessing in disguise we have two days between because it's going to make for a better Game 2," Julien said Thursday at the Bruins’ hotel.

Neither team skated the day after the game.

"Anybody who is a hockey fan (and) watched last night's game, they have to be happy with the showing. It was a hard-fought game that could have gone either way. That's what the Stanley Cup final should be all about."

STATS SHEET

As you can imagine, with the length of the game there were a number of standouts on the official stats sheet, several which require a double take.

There were a total of 117 shots – 63 by the ‘Hawks – that made it through to the two goaltenders. Ironically, Rozsival was one of just four players in the game who did not have a shot on net, even though his effort from the point led to the game-winner.

The Hawks were certainly in control of the puck for much of the game but the Bruins blocked 40 shots to help keep the game close. All told, the Hawks attempted 132 shots with 23 going wide. Going forward, this will be a concern for the Bruins, who may be overmatched by the skill of the Hawks (not that it cost them against the Penguins in the Eastern Conference final).

You want bruises? There were 120 hits and the physical game was pretty much even with the Hawks landing 61 and the Bruins 59.

While there were a whopping 107 faceoffs, the results were virtually equal with the Bruins holding a slight 58-56 edge.

"It looks strange on paper," Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference said. "Everything looks out of whack on the scoresheet."

OVERTIME ODDS AND ENDS

Game 1 marked the first multiple-overtime contest in the Cup final since 2008 when Pittsburgh defeated Detroit, also in triple-overtime.

It was the second consecutive year Game 1 went to overtime. Last year, Anze Kopitar scored 8:13 into the first to give the Kings a 2-1 win over the Devils.

There have been eight multiple-overtime games in the final but this was the first won by the home team.

The Blackhawks have now played parts of 11 periods over their past two games after beating the Kings in double-overtime Saturday. It's just the fourth time in NHL history that a team has won back-to-back multiple-overtime games in one playoff season.

BAD BLOOD?

With two hard-nosed hockey teams, it won't take long for the nasty side to be a factor.

There was the usual hacking throughout and a number of big hits from both squads. Perhaps the ugliest was a Chara cross-check to the face of Shaw earlier in the game.

In his post-game press conference, Julien accused Shaw of embellishing.

Quenneville's response Thursday when asked about his counterpart's comments? "I'm not going there."

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/longleysunsport


Videos

Photos