Stanley Cup Recap: Bruins let Game 1 slip away, Hawks lead series 1-0
If we learned anything from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, it may be that three periods are just not enough time for the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks to play each other.
Wednesday night’s matchup between the Bruins and Blackhawks marked the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 that the two teams played each other, and that game couldn’t be settled in regulation as it took a shootout for Boston to earn the 3-2 victory. Since then, players have come and gone and organizations have changed, but the Bruins and Blackhawks still look like pretty even teams. And even they were through nearly six periods Wednesday night, but for the first time in a long time, it was the Bruins who were on the down side of things. The Blackhawks finally put the game to bed 12:08 into triple overtime when Andrew Shaw, the irritating, 21-year-old Chicago forward, redirected Dave Bolland’s tip past Tuukka Rask to give Chicago the 4-3 win. The Blackhawk’s victory over the Boston Bruins marks the fifth-longest game in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals and it will be one Boston will have to get over quickly in order to be ready for Game 2.
Nathan Horton Injury: The Boston Bruins not only lost Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, but they also lost first-line right winger Nathan Horton to what seemed to be an upper-body injury in the first overtime period. Coach Claude Julien had nothing to say about the status of Horton after the triple overtime loss because the doctors had not finalized any information following his evaluation. Horton, who was rumored to have battled an upper body injury all season, is unfortunately familiar with sitting out in the Stanley Cup Finals. During the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, Horton suffered a series-ending concussion when Vancouver’s Aaron Rome drilled him with a blind-side hit to the head at center ice.
Rookie Mistakes: Torey Krug‘s crucial turnover in the Bruin’s defensive zone in the third period led to a Dave Bolland goal that made it 3-2 Boston and even worse, completely shifted the momentum of the game to Chicago’s advantage. The 21-year-old defenseman tried making a cross-ice pass a few strides before Boston’s blue line when it was intercepted by Shaw, who quickly turned the play around and got the puck to Bolland for a goal. This mistake proved to be a costly one and resulted in Krug sitting out for the rest of the third period. The coaching staff will likely think about sitting Krug for Game 2 after his shaky play in Game 1.
Unlucky Bounce: With Andrew Ference having played on both the winning and losing sides of a Stanley Cup series, the veteran defenseman knows that every goal matters in the quest for the cup. Ference was by Rask’s side when a shot from the point deflected off his left skate and trickled into the net for the game-tying goal in the third period. If Ference were not in the position that he was, the shot would have gone far wide to the boards. The defenseman tried to make up for it by spending 45:19 time on the ice, but it just wasn’t enough for the B’s to get the win.
Milan Lucic: Since Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs, Looch has been on fire, recording nine points in 11 games. Chicago had limited answers as to how to stop the powerful left-winger, as he collected two goals, added an assist and did a whole lot of dirty work for Boston throughout Game 1. Lucic has proven himself as a complete workhorse on the ice after a somewhat inconsistent season filled with scoring droughts and a lack of intensity. Unfortunately, with costly turnovers and bouncing pucks, the fuel to Lucic’s fire was put out as the Bruins could not join in on his performance Wednesday night.
Tyler Seguin: Wednesday night was another step in the right direction for the struggling Tyler Seguin. It seemed that every time the Bruins were about to steal the game back, it was Seguin being the mastermind behind the play. The 21-year-old, who has scored one single goal this entire post season, played tremendous on Wednesday night, tallying eight shots on net and assisting a Patrice Bergeron power-play goal. Seguin, who moved up two lines to take the spot of the injured Nathan Horton in the first overtime period, showed both his speed and strength in the offensive and defensive zones. Hopefully, the opportunities Seguin had in Game 1 can transfer over to Game 2 Saturday night.
Patrice Bergeron power-play goal: The Boston power play has been iffy throughout the year and the playoffs, but it worked great in the third period Wednesday when Tyler Seguin fed the puck to Bergeron, who dinged it off the crossbar and in to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead with 13:51 to go in regulation. The goal was a bright spot for not only the Bruins, but also for slumping Seguin, who set the play up perfectly.
Collision between Lucic and Jagr: An awkward mistake was made last night when David Krejci was skating out of the Bruins defensive zone, which would have led to an odd man rush for the B’s if Lucic didn’t turn one way and Jaromir Jagr didn’t turn the other. As Jagr was rushing on to the ice, he collided with Lucic, and it appeared to have shaken up both players. Jagr is 6-foot-3 and weighs 240 pounds, and Lucic is 6-foot-4 and weighs 220 pounds. The duo are two of the Bruins’ most forceful forwards, and the collision must have been painful.
The Boston Bruins will have Thursday and Friday off to regroup and rest before they look to even the series in Game 2. The second game of the series will begin at 8 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago. You can catch it on TV on NBC Sports Network.