CHICAGO -- The good, the bad and the ugly from the B's 4-3, triple-overtime loss in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals:
GOLD STAR: Corey Crawford was a mystery to most Bruins fans before the Stanley Cup Finals began, but he isn’t anymore after an impressive performance in Game 1. Crawford had 51 saves overall and stopped 29 pucks in overtime, including a bevy of chances for Tyler Seguin and David Krejci, and was the beneficiary of Zdeno Chara hitting the inside post in Boston’s power play in OT. Tuukka Rask was just as good making 59 saves, and Chicago couldn’t only beat him with deflections of skates and a puck that was tipped twice before getting past the B’s goaltender in triple overtime. But Crawford’s save on Krejci in triple overtime after he’d split up the defense was a game-saver for the Blackhawks.
BLACK EYE: Torey Krug was a minus-2 in 19:36 of ice time and had a brutal giveaway in the third period to Andrew Shaw that set up Chicago’s first of two third-period goals to send it to overtime. Krug sat on the bench from that point in the early third period until midway through the first overtime, but eventually got back into the rotation as the overtimes just kept coming. It appeared Krug sent the puck up the middle of the ice in order to potentially avoid a too-many-men-on-the-ice call as both teams were going through line changes, which is sound thinking. But firing a puck up the middle of the ice while protecting a two-goal lead in the third period is a “terrible turnover”, as Rask deemed it after the game. Wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins coaching staff at least toys with the idea of putting Matt Bartkowski back in place of Krug after watching nerves get the better of him in the Cup Finals.
TURNING POINT: The Torey Krug turnover and a puck off Andrew Ference’s skate in the third period completely turned the tables on a game that seemed in the bag for Boston as they were holding a 3-1 lead midway through the third period. Still, one mistake and one unlucky bounce unraveled things for the Black and Gold, and put it up to change in overtime. The Bruins and Blackhawks both battled, but it seemed in Game 1 as if some of Boston’s luck finally ran out. The Krug turnover is the kind of crucial third period mistake from a rookie that Boston can’t have at the most important time of a game. It was part of a period where the Blackhawks outshot the Bruins by a 15-8 margin, and it seemed as if Boston was simply hanging on for dear life.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brandon Saad was the best player on the ice for the Blackhawks for long stretches of the game, and finished with a goal and a plus-2 rating in 31:15 of ice time. Saad generated 13 shot attempts, and was bumped up to the line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa in the third period and beyond after putting on a show in regulation. His chances in the first couple of periods were Grade ‘A’, but were denied by Tuukka Rask. His laser shot in the second period was right under the crossbar, and Rask had no chance at stopping. Most impressive for a rookie in his first Stanley Cup Finals experience.
BY THE NUMBERS: 48:36 – the high for ice time in the game with Dennis Seidenberg clocking in highest on the Bruins while throwing seven hits and blocking nine shots in a rugged game.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Last time we won the Cup, we lost the first two games to Vancouver. It never stopped us from coming back. This certainly won't.” –Claude Julien with plenty of fight still left in him after losing a triple overtime Game 1 to the Blackhawks.