CHICAGO — Andrew Shaw couldn’t quite explain how he felt after scoring the game-winning goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in his first Stanley Cup finals game.
He can be forgiven for his loss of words considering his goal came nearly five hours after the game began.
“Too exhausted right now to express it,” Shaw said with a smile.
Shaw scored his fifth goal of the playoffs on a double deflection to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over Boston at 12:08 of the third overtime in a thrilling opener to the finals Wednesday.
Michal Rozsival’s shot from the right point deflected off teammate Dave Bolland, then pinballed off Shaw into the Boston net, ending the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup finals history.
The deflection beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 59 saves. Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped 51 shots, including 29 in the overtimes.
Game 2 is Saturday, again at United Center.
Shaw, who has earned a reputation as an agitator, capped a night in which
he finished plus-2 and made nine hits. He also added an assist on Bolland’s goal that started Chicago on a rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
“He’s a competitor,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Shaw. “He does things game in, game out. The bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge. He knows where the front of net is. Doesn’t have to be pretty.”
The Blackhawks survived in overtime despite being called for bench minors for too many men on the ice in each of the first two extra sessions.
The Bruins nearly ended the game on the second of those power plays, but a shot from Zdeno Chara caught the inside of the right pipe behind Crawford and deflected past Milan Lucic on the doorstep with only seconds remaining in the second OT.
“It wasn’t a goal, so we just continued to play,” Chara said about the bad break. “I thought we had some chances for sure to win the game, and we didn’t. So we have to get ready for the next one.”
Neither team sat back during a frantic first overtime, with the Bruins getting the best of the play. Boston pressured Crawford throughout the man advantage but couldn’t get the winner. At one point, Crawford was playing without his stick, and he still managed to thwart the Bruins.
It was that kind of night for the Bruins, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
“It’s never easy to lose a game when you’re in the third overtime period,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “I thought that in overtime we got better. We got a
little stronger. We had some great looks, some great opportunities, we just didn’t bury them.”
Bolland helped Crawford twice in the first overtime. He cleared a loose puck from the crease with Crawford down early. Bolland later backchecked to shut down a scoring chance just a couple minutes after the Blackhawks killed off the first overtime penalty.
The Blackhawks rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit with goals by Bolland and Johnny Oduya just four minutes apart.
Bolland, taking a feed to the front of the net from Shaw, ripped a shot into the net at 8:00 following a Bruins giveaway. It was Bolland’s first goal of the postseason.
Oduya tied it with a blast from the right blue line, beating Rask through a crowd at 12:14. The puck deflected in off the skate of Boston defenseman Andrew Ference, leveling the score at 3.
Only six minutes earlier, it appeared the Bruins were on their way to the victory. Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal at 6:09 on the Bruins’ only man-advantage of regulation.
Chicago had killed 55 of 58 short-handed situations in the playoffs prior to Wednesday.
However, the Blackhawks’ woes with their own power play continued. Chicago failed on all three of its power plays, all in the second period, including 1:14 of a two-man advantage. Chicago managed only one shot on goal during the 5-on-3 stretch.
After a fast start by Chicago, momentum swung to Boston midway through the first period. But unlike the Blackhawks, the Bruins were able to capitalize as Lucic scored the game’s first goal at 13:11, his fourth of the playoffs.
David Krejci won a battle from Niklas Hjalmarsson behind the Blackhawks net and quickly fed the puck to Nathan Horton, who then redirected it to Lucic alone in the slot.
The goal came moments after Crawford robbed Brad Marchand with a glove save.
Prior to that, the Blackhawks controlled play, getting several good scoring opportunities against Rask and holding an edge in the physical play as well.
The Bruins added to their lead only 51 seconds into the second period on a Lucic one-timer that grazed Crawford’s left arm.
Just over two minutes later, Brandon Saad ignited the home crowd with his first career playoff goal, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 2-1. Saad scored on a one-timer from the left face-off circle after taking a backhand feed from Marian Hossa.