Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Blackhawks edge Bruins in fifth-longest Stanley Cup game ever

CHICAGO — Andrew Shaw skated off to the side and pumped his arms furiously.

One shot from the right point plus two deflections was just enough to beat Tuukka Rask in the fifth-longest Stanley Cup finals game in history.

Shaw skated in front of the goal in the third overtime and redirected Dave Bolland’s shot into the net for the winning score in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in a riveting Game 1 on Wednesday.

Michal Rozsival started the winning sequence with a shot from the right point into traffic. Bolland tipped it before Shaw got it by Rask for his fifth goal of the playoffs.

And just like that, the longest finals game in five years was over.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty,” Shaw said. “It was a great shot, great shift. It was unbelievable. All the guys deserved this. It was a great battle for us.”

Milan Lucic had two goals and an assist for the Bruins, who had won five straight and nine of 10. Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal and David Krejci finished with two assists.

Rask made an astounding 59 saves in the longest finals game since Pittsburgh beat Detroit 4-3 when Petr Sykora scored at 9:57 of third overtime on June 2, 2008.

Game 2 is Saturday at the United Center.

“Get some rest, because we basically just played two games in one night here,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “But based on how it went (Wednesday), we’ll have to be ready.”

The Blackhawks won for the eighth time in nine games and improved to 10-1 at home in the playoffs. Bolland and Johnny Oduya scored in the third period for Chicago, which never would have made it to the third overtime if not for an impressive performance by goaltender Corey Crawford. Brandon Saad had his first goal of the playoffs.

Crawford gave the Blackhawks a chance by standing his ground when the Bruins had repeated opportunities in the extra sessions.

Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille skated in for a 2-on-1 in the first OT, and Crawford turned away Thornton on the doorstep. He denied Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin in rapid succession, and helped Chicago kill off two power plays when it was whistled twice for too many men on the ice.

Nathan Horton hit the post in the first extra session, and Zdeno Chara’s slap shot deflected off Jaromir Jagr and then the inside of the right post at the very end of the second overtime.

Crawford had 22 of his 51 saves in the first two overtimes, and Rask was forced to make 18 stops. The action was so fast and furious that it took a toll on the players with Horton skating off during the power play with an injury — likely a serious one to leave the ice during that pivotal moment.

Bergeron scored on a slap shot went off the stick of Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and made it 3-1 at 6:09 in the third period. It was just the fourth power-play goal allowed by Chicago in 59 playoff chances.

The Blackhawks responded with more pressure on Rask, who stepped up when he faced a similar attack from Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals. This time, he coughed up the lead, hurt by one unlucky carom.

First, Bolland converted a nice pass from Shaw for his first goal of the playoffs. The pesky Bolland had three goals and three assists when the Blackhawks beat Philadelphia in six games to win the 2010 Stanley Cup.

Then Oduya’s long slap shot went off the left skate of Boston defenseman Andrew Ference and into the net for the tying goal with 7:46 remaining in regulation. Oduya’s shot was going wide if it didn’t hit Ference’s skate.

“Not disappointed in our effort,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “There’s certain things you’re going to want to fix for next game. But as far as the game is concerned, it was a hard-fought game.”

The sellout crowd of 22,110 cheered as Krejci and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews stared each other down for the opening faceoff of the first Stanley Cup finals between Original Six franchises in 34 years.

The Associated Press

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