Triple overtime, 7:52, 4-3 Blackhawks: It’s over.
A Michal Rozsival shot from the blue line weaves its way through traffic and past Rask. That was the Blackhawks’ strategy in these overtime periods. The shot deflected off Bolland’s stick and then Shaw’s leg. Hard to defend that one.
And so, after 112 minutes of hockey, Game 1 has been decided.
Triple overtime, 9:31, 3-3: Oh. My. Goodness. Kaspars Daugavins had the chance for an easy redirect into an empty net but instead decided to deke to his backhand in front of the net. He had to deal with Crawford’s left leg and the stick of a diving Oduya there, and he lost the puck. That was the biggest chance of any of the three overtimes thus far, and it didn’t even result in a shot.
Triple overtime, 11:51, 3-3: David Krejci stopped again by Crawford, this time with the glove on a semi-breakaway.
Triple overtime, 16:24, 3-3: My belief that this game might never end is as strong as ever. Krejci, Seidenberg and Chara cycle the puck around the perimeter for about 30 seconds. Their first two or three shots are blocked away, and finally Krejci’s shot on net is swallowed up by Crawford.
Triple Overtime, 18:53, 3-3: No goals, no shots on the end of that power play. And so they play on.
Triple overtime, 20:00, 3-3: The 101st minute of hockey has begun, with the B’s on the power play to start this third overtime period.
End of double overtime, 3-3: A frenzy at the end of the period comes within inches of a Bruins victory, as Chara’s shot from the blue line deflects off Jagr’s skate, past Crawford and … squarely catches the right post. An inch to the left, and it’s over.
The Bruins had two more chances after that, too. Lucic couldn’t corral the rebound, but he did eventually get the puck to Bergeron at the right dot. With Crawford out of position, Bergeron fired a shot toward the near side post, but Crawford scrambled to turn aside the shot.
And so, they will play on.
Following this much-needed intermission, the Bruins will have 1:07 of power play time on a clean sheet of ice. If they don’t score during that time, this game might never end.
Rask has 54 saves, while Crawford has 43. The Blackhawks have 56 hits, and the Bruins have 55. The Blackhawks have 52 faceoff wins, and the Bruins have 51.
So, yeah, this one’s pretty even. Picking a winner at this point is a fool’s endeavor, because it’s going to take a bizarre series of bounces, rolls or deflections to put an end to this game.
(I realize this post originally went out with a headline that said the game was heading to double overtime. I hope you’ll forgive the error. Though you don’t have Pierre McGuire to tell you this, I am indeed fatigued here. I’ll try to hydrate and focus so I don’t make any more mistakes going forward.)
Double overtime, 52.8, 3-3: A chance for life for the Bruins, as the Blackhawks again get caught with too many men on the ice. About 50 seconds for the Bruins to try to do this before an intermission, and Claude Julien will use his timeout to give his guys a rest and get who he wants out on the ice. This could be it.
Double overtime, 5:04, 3-3: It’s outrageous that these two teams are still playing. The exhaustion is evident in just about every single one of these players, but they’re still out there, willing to do anything for that glorious game-winner.
Crawford came up huge with a kick save on a blast by Krug at the top of the circles. We know that shot is dangerous, but Crawford was up to the task.
Double overtime, 9:59, 3-3: The Bruins catch a minor break here, as they get to take a rest for the ice crew to come out and clean up the ice shavings after a Boston icing. It gives the B’s a minute or two to catch their breath, which is a valuable thing to have in the 90th minute of a Stanley Cup Final hockey game.
Double overtime, 12:29, 3-3: The ridiculous pace continues, and this time it’s the Blackhawks generating the offense. They really should have had the game-winner, with Handzus passing from behind the net to Kane, who was streaking to the front of the goal mouth. Kane went to put the puck on his forehand, with some room to bury it between Rask’s right toe and the post, but the puck just slipped away from Kane. Huge opportunity missed for Kane and the Blackhawks.
Double overtime, 17:46, 3-3: The Bruins might have had a 3-0n-2 rush, but, well, Milan Lucic and Jaromir Jagr had a high-speed collision at their own blue line. The two fell to the ice, leaving Krejci to rush on his own down the ice. Big missed opportunity there, but at least the two big-bodied wingers didn’t hurt each other. The Bruins are already playing down a man.
Double overtime, 20:00, 3-3: It looked on a second replay that Horton may have suffered a shoulder injury. Whatever it was, it’s enough to keep him out to begin double overtime. Tyler Seguin takes his spot on the red-hot Krejci line, and double overtime is under way in Chicago.
End of overtime, 3-3: Sixty minutes was not enough, and neither was an extra 20, and this one heads to double overtime.
The Bruins seemed to recover in that period and were definitely the team generating more odd man rushes and creating more chances. The Blackhawks’ strategy was centered more on sending long shots through traffic and hoping to prevent Rask from seeing the shots. It might have worked against another goalie, but Rask seems to have X-ray vision tonight.
The big story right now is Nathan Horton. Replays showed him just simply keel over in pain, and it wasn’t clear what prompted it. Remember, he missed the end of the regular season after his fight with Jarome Iginla, leading to some guesses that he was playing with an injured hand or wrist, but it’s really hard to even venture a guess what was ailing him there. You can bet it was pretty bad if it sent him off the ice and off the bench in overtime of a Stanley Cup Final game, though.
Overtime, 3:54, 3-3: I really do not know how Nathan Horton did not score on the power play. David Krejci teed up a one-timer from the left dot, and through traffic, it ended up on Horton’s tape on the doorstep. His shot deflected hit the post and deflected through the crease and somehow out of harm’s way.
Seconds later, Horton skated to the bench in pain and went down the tunnel, apparently injured.
Minutes after the power play, Krejci tried to patiently skate around a downed Crawford to score the game-winner, but Bolland cleaned him out before he could get off a backhand.
Overtime, 7:52, 3-3: The Bruins are going to get a power play, thanks to too many men on the ice for Chicago. The power play needed just 18 seconds to score last time, and with the ice crew out there to clean up the the snow, the Bruins will have a somewhat clean sheet to work with.
Overtime, 12:00, 3-3: Peverley and Seguin have been pretty bad all night, but they nearly erased it all. Seguin dropped a pass to Peverley, who sent a shot high to the glove side. Crawford made the save but coughed up a rebound, and Seguin tried to jam it home. Crawford made that stop but the puck sat precariously in the crease for a moment before Bolland cleared it out of trouble.
It was the best opportunity of OT so far, but Crawford and Bolland kept it out of the net.
Overtime, 14:39, 3-3: The Blackhawks again look to have the fresher, stronger legs, but the Bruins are hanging in there and getting their chances. A Paille-Thornton 2-on-1 against Oduya very nearly created the game-winning goal, but Oduya’s dive prevented Thornton from getting a shot off.
Overtime, 18:38, 3-3: Bergeron won a faceoff in the offensive end to Ference, who quickly passed back to Boychuk for his patented slap shot, but Crawford was able to make the save.
Overtime, 20:00, 3-3: Here we are again, overtime. Play is under way.
End of regulation, 3-3: We expected an evenly matched series, we saw an evenly matched 60 minutes, and so unsurprisingly, we’ll see some overtime.
The intermission comes at a good time for the Bruins, because they looked physically and mentally spent in the final 10 minutes of the game. After the Bruins took a 3-1 lead, the Blackhawks kicked it into high gear and simply dominated. Sure, they caught a lucky bounce with Oduya’s shot off Ference’s skate, but when you’re outplaying your opponent, you tend to create your own luck by forcing the issue.
Right now, the Bruins are essentially playing with one and a half lines. The Krejci line has been regularly dominant, and the Bergeron line has created a fair number of chances in the offensive end. But the third line has been a mess, and the fourth line hasn’t done much beyond chipping, chasing and hitting (aka what they’re supposed to do).
Meanwhile, Torey Krug hasn’t stepped on the ice since his turnover led to the Blackhawks’ second goal, and he probably won’t be playing again tonight or for the rest of the series. His magical run has run out of fairy dust.
Of course, it’s overtime, so all it takes is one burst from one player or one line to decide the game. The Bruins are capable of that, but they’re going to have to wake up and match Chicago’s intensity level. At the end of the third, it wasn’t even close.
The Bruins are 4-1 in overtime this postseason, and the Blackhawks are 3-1, if you were wondering.
Third period, 1:05, 3-3: Final 65 seconds. The Blackhawks are skating circles around the Bruins down the stretch, for the most part. I’ll be shocked if the Bruins manage to score one before the end of regulation, and at this rate, they’ll be sort of lucky to even get to overtime.
Third period, 3:05, 3-3: The chaotic pace has continued, and we’re officially in next-goal-wins territory.
Third period, 6:21, 3-3: Finally, at 13:39 of the third, we get our first TV timeout of the period. The only stoppages in play since the 6-minute mark have been for goals and icings, neither of which lead to commercial breaks. It’s pretty rare for it to go so long without a TV timeout, so prepare for an oddly choppy few minutes coming up.
Third period, 7:46, 3-3: A frantic pace in the third period (still not TV timeouts) leads to a Johnny Oduya blast from the point that deflects off Andrew Ference’s skate and trickles behind Rask to tie the game at 3-3.
Next goal wins? Maybe, but in this long, break-free stretch of hockey, the Blackhawks certainly thrived.
Credit Crawford for coming up huge on a 2-on-1 with Krejci and Lucic earlier in the period to keep the Blackhawks in it.
Third period, 12:00, 3-2 Bruins: Like I said, last time the Bruins stretched their lead to two goals, it didn’t last long, and once again, the Blackhawks strike. Torey Krug made a bad turnover at the Boston blue line. Shaw took the puck into the offensive end and patiently waited for Bolland to find space along the left wing. The B’s lead is now down to a goal. So much for making it easy.
Third period, 13:51, 3-1 Bruins: The B’s pounce quickly on the power play and score just 18 seconds into the man advantage.
Jagr and Lucic were involved in a puck battle in the corner. Lucic passed to Seguin in the slot, and Seguin very quickly tapped the puck over to his left to Bergeron. The center’s one-time slapper dinged off the right post and into the net, giving the Bruins a much-needed and well-earned two-goal cushion.
Last time the Bruins stretched their lead to two goals, it didn’t last long, so they’ll need to watch out.
Third period, 14:08, 2-1 Bruins: The Bruins will get their first power play of the night, as Frolik goes off for tripping Chara. Huge opportunity for the Bruins to build a cushion here.
Third period, 20:00, 2-1 Bruins: Final 20 (or is it?) under way in Chicago. Krejci beats Toews on the draw, and we begin.
End of second period, 2-1 Bruins: That was not the perfect period for the Bruins, but they still head to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead.
The Bruins are playing a solid game, but it’s evident through the first 40 minutes that these Blackhawks are a bit better than the Penguins. Or at least, they’re putting in a better, more focused effort.
In part due to three power plays, the Blackhawks led in shots that period 16-6. The stat sheet says the hits are at 26 to 25 in favor of the Blackhawks, but I think the person in charge of the hit stats tonight might be a little loopy. The Blackhawks have been the noticeably more physical team thus far.
Either way, the Bruins need to stay out of the box in the final 20. The Horton penalty came after an obvious dive by Handzus, so that wasn’t too bad, but they absolutely need to stop the too-many-men business, because it’s going to come back to kill them at some point. If any franchise knows that, it’s the Bruins.
Second period, 4:04, 2-1 Bruins: Another solid kill for the B’s, who surrender just one shot and refuse to allow the Blackhawks to establish anything in the offensive end.
Second period, 7:07, 2-1 Bruins: Bruins going back on the penalty kill, this time after Zdeno Chara catches Shaw in the face in a shoving match in front of the net.
Second period, 9:16, 2-1 Bruins: That was a huge moment for both teams, and it was the Bruins who were able to kill off the long two-man advantage and the 43 seconds left on the too many men call. The Blackhawks did a poor job of doing, really, anything on the two-man advantage, failing to get a shot on net. Both of these teams had struggling power plays heading into the series, and it continues for the Blackhawks.
Second period, 11:40, 2-1 Bruins: Things are dicey for the Bruins now, as Corey Crawford clears a puck toward the Bruins bench to draw a too-many-men call on Boston. Blackhawks will get 1:17 of two-man advantage time.
Second period, 12:23, 2-1 Bruins: We were bound to see a penalty at some point, and it’s Boston that gets called for the first one.
Horton shoved Handzus near the Chicago net, and Handzus went down rather easily to draw the penalty.
Second period, 13:40, 2-1 Bruins: If you were worried that the physical play might not be as high as it’s been in past series, well, it didn’t take long for these two teams to start to hate each other. Andrew Shaw has been the instigator for Chicago, but it was the undersized Torey Krug who knocked Shaw off his feet in the Chicago end.
Adam McQuaid also let Patrick Sharp know that bumping Tuukka Rask after the goalie covered a puck will not be an option for Chicago, and the refs are letting it all go thus far.
Second period, 16:52 2-1 Bruins: The two-goal lead was short-lived for the Bruins.
Marian Hossa slipped past Dennis Seidenberg in the corner and fed Brandon Saad in the slot. He unleashed a lethal wrister to the top corner, beating Rask, and giving the Blackhawks their first goal of the game.
Second period, 19:09, 2-0 Bruins: Milan Lucic has two, and the Bruins have a 2-0 lead.
Nothing fancy about that one, as Krejci just dropped a pass back to Lucic, who let one rip. Crawford got a piece of it with his left arm but it deflected in, doubling the Bruins’ lead to 2-0.
Though he doesn’t get an assist on it, credit Tuukka Rask for making that one happen. He very calmly dropped to the butterfly and turned aside a Hossa slap shot from close range just seconds before the rush that led to the goal.
Second period, 20:00, 1-0 Bruins: Toews won the opening draw against Krejci, and the second period is under way in Chicago.
End of first period, 1-0 Bruins: I believe the Bruins did exactly what they set out to do in that period. They withstood the initial pressure that they knew Chicago would bring in the opening minutes and then really turned on the jets. They were able to make it through that opening stretch without falling behind, and they pounced on one great opportunity.
What’s interesting is that it was a play where a Blackhawk tried to play physically rather than smart, as Niklas Hjalmarsson tried to drive Krejci through the boards rather than play for the loose puck. Krejci caught the speeding red jersey out of the corner of his eye and was able step aside, thereby giving himself room to operate. And as anyone who’s been watching these Bruins knows, David Krejci plus space equals goals. The Blackhawks should know that they should be hitting Krejci if they have the chance, but they can’t afford to take any risks when doing so. They learned that the hard way.
Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, had eight saves, extending his shutout streak to 146:28, going back to midway through the second period of Game 3 against the Penguins. The kid is on another level right now.
Also of note was Tyler Seguin getting robbed by Crawford, who somehow got his left pad over in time to stop a shot that actually went through Nick Leddy’s legs. It looked like Seguin had an empty net to shoot at, but Crawford flashed the pad.
Add it all up, and the Bruins lead 1-0, in pretty good position, but obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done.
First period, 6:49, 1-0 Bruins: The Boston Bruins have a 1-0 lead.
David Krejci sidestepped a huge hit from Hjalmarsson and then skated to the puck behind the net. He passed to Horton who quickly dished over to Lucic at the right faceoff circle, and Lucic deposited his shot into the empty net as Crawford was unable to go right to left in time.
First period, 9:39, 0-0: David Krejci looks just as sharp for the Bruins as he has all postseason long. His defensive ability was on display when he found a loose puck in the Bruins’ end and skated it out of harm’s way, and his work on a 2-0n-2 rush with Lucic created a decent scoring chance and an offensive zone faceoff.
The third line had a decent bounceback, getting a couple of shots toward net, after Seguin and Daugavins each had a panicked turnover earlier in the period. The fourth line, even with Chris Kelly in the middle instead of Gregory Campbell, has done its usual job of getting pucks deep and fighting to keep it there.
Tuukka has five saves early on, while Crawford has four.
First period, 13:25, 0-0: Something you can kind of forget in the three-day buildup to the championship is that once the game starts, it’s going to be just that — a game. And so far, it looks like a road game for the Bruins. The Blackhawks are controlling the pace early, and it’s evidenced by their 4-2 advantage in shots and 13-4 advantage in hits. The Bruins might be hoping to simply survive the opening 10 minutes, take Chicago’s best punch, and then step on the gas pedal.
First period, 16:25, 0-0: The bodies are flying around out there early. Hits have not been hard to come by, with Brent Seabrook’s big body check on Shawn Thornton the biggest of the night thus far.
First period, 20:00: Following the always-rousing national anthem in Chicago, this game is finally under way. David Krejci won the opening draw against Jonathan Toews, and we are now watching the Stanley Cup Final.
8:17 p.m.: The two teams have taken the ice. We’re a national anthem away from the Cup Final.
8:12 p.m.: Ten minutes until the puck drops in the Stanley Cup Final. Buckle up.
7:56 p.m.: Lots of hockey fans around the continent are no doubt rooting against the Bruins, but the B’s will also have the leader of the free world rooting against them.
7:50 p.m.: The two teams are on the ice for warmups, the Blackhawks in their home red sweaters and the Bruins in their road whites. As you might have expected, Corey Crawford and Tuukka Rask are your starting goaltenders this evening.
The lines are as expected, too. Bollig is in there for the Blackhawks, with Stalberg out, while Toews and Kane are skating on separate lines. For the Bruins, it’s the same lineup as Game 4.
7:37 p.m.: We’re getting closer and closer to game time, but if you’re waiting until 8 p.m., know that it’ll be a little bit longer. Puck drop should take place at 8:22 p.m., which leaves plenty of time for pregame festivities, food, beverages and, well, more waiting.
6:23 p.m.: Just scanning through the pregame media notes, and it stuck out to me that this is only the third championship meeting between a sports team from Chicago and a sports team from Boston. The Bears won Super Bowl XX, while the Red Sox beat the Cubs in the 1918 World Series. You might’ve thought in the hundred or so years of sports in the two cities, we’d have had more meetings.
5:45 p.m.: When the matchup for this series was set, it seemed like the Blackhawks were the favorite and the Bruins would be the underdogs. In the days since, though, it looks like most prognosticators are siding with the B’s.
Here on our site, only three of the 19 of us picked the Blackhawks (no comment on the jerks who picked Chicago). On ESPN.com, nine of the 12 experts picked the Bruins. Over on the Puck Daddy blog, all six writers picked the Bruins to win. The CBS local picks were all Boston, too. Sports Illustrated was split, with two writers picking Boston and two picking Chicago.
I’m sure Bruins fans would almost prefer seeing their team enter this series as the underdog, but when you win eight of your last nine games and hold the Penguins to just two total goals in a four-game sweep, people are going to be hopping on the bandwagon.
4 p.m.: Are you ready for the Finals?
After a brief four-day respite for the Bruins, they’re rested and ready to go tonight for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, which will get under way shortly after 8 p.m. tonight.
There’s little to be said that hasn’t already been repeated over the past few days, as we’ve all patiently (and not-so-patiently) waited for this night to get here.
For me, I think the most noteworthy piece of news heading in is that Joel Quenneville has made some changes to the lines that got his team to this point. He broke up Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, putting Toews between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, and putting Kane on the right wing, with Bryan Bickell at left wing and Michal Handzus at center. He also inserted Brandon Bollig into the lineup in place of Viktor Stalberg. While Stalberg had just three assists in this postseason, he at least possessed the potential to score. Bollig has zero goals in 43 career regular-season games, and one goal in his seven playoff games.
On the one hand, Quenneville is taking a proactive approach and adjusting his lineup to what he’s likely considering a very strong Bruins team. But on the other hand, it could be an instance of a coach out-thinking himself before even seeing what kind of game the opponent brings. These two teams haven’t met since October 2011, so it’s not as if Quenneville is basing his changes off personal experience.
This may be a bit of over-analysis, especially because that Sharp-Toews-Hossa line is just as lethal as Sharp-Toews-Kane, and that move helps spread out some of the scoring, which helps combat any potential matchup against Patrice Bergeron. Still, it was nevertheless eye-catching to see lineup changes after the Blackhawks beat the defending champions in just five games.
Aside from Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg in Game 3 against Pittsburgh, Claude Julien won’t be making any changes to his lineup. Expect to see:
That last name , the one of Tuukka Rask, sure has been the most important one for the Bruins this postseason. With it being well-documented that his numbers through 16 games are better than those of Tim Thomas in 2011, this is now the stage where it matters most. If Rask can keep up his phenomenal level of play, the Bruins are going to be nearly impossible to beat.
That’s it for now, but check back throughout the pregame hours for any and all updates, and stick with it throughout the game for live commentary of the action from the opening puck drop until the final horn.