A night to remember in Chicago

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Perhaps it was the hockey gods’ way of rewarding us for coming back after another lockout.

Remember the lockout? Seems like a long time ago now.

Actually, when you think about it, maybe all that extra time off made Wednesday’s marathon thriller in Chicago possible. Both the Blackhawks and Bruins came into the 2013 Stanley Cup Final remarkably healthy after a 48-game regular season and three playoff rounds, save for one Gregory Campbell.

Certainly, neither team lacked energy in Game 1.

Well, not for the first few periods.

But let’s not start thinking that the NHL’s most recent work stoppage was even kind of a good thing; it wasn’t.

Tonight’s game was, though. This was why the fans came back. For a game like that.

And you thought it was exciting outside the United Center…

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It was a double deflection in triple overtime that ended it, giving the Blackhawks the 4-3 victory. The hero was Andrew Shaw, a 21-year-old that was drafted 139th overall a couple of years ago.

The hero might’ve been a 25-year-old Latvian playing in just his third game this postseason, except Kaspars Daugavins couldn’t bury it minutes earlier for the Bruins.

Frankly, the hero might’ve been almost anyone, given the number of chances in sudden death.

In all, there were 117 shots registered in the 112:08 of hockey — 63 on Boston’s Tuukka Rask and 54 on his counterpart, Corey Crawford, who had his name chanted by the capacity crowd of 22,110, minus the handful who showed up in Bruins sweaters.

“Crowe was great,” said ‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “He kept us in there. He made several all-alone plays and saves. Had some odd-man breaks, some dangerous looks. He was great.”

Meanwhile, Bruins bench boss Claude Julien admitted the loss hurt, but he also pointed to what his team did just two years ago.

“Last time we won the Cup, we lost the first two games to Vancouver,” said Julien. “It never stopped us from coming back. This certainly won’t.

“When you look at the game, it could have gone either way. I thought we had some real great looks in overtime. With a little bit of luck, we could have ended it before they did.”

Game 2 goes Saturday.

It has some rather large shoes to fill.

Brendan Smith still talking to Rangers, ‘trying to make it happen’

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It’s only a few days until July 1 and defenseman Brendan Smith still doesn’t have an extension in place with the New York Rangers.

Not to worry, says his agent. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Smith is going to sign elsewhere.

“No one should read anything into the fact that we don’t have a deal yet,” Anton Thun told the New York Post. “You’re never really close until it’s done, but both sides are trying to make it happen. We’ll have to see.”

Thun told the Post a month ago that Smith, an unrestricted free agent, was “open” to returning to the Rangers.

But there’s also been speculation that the Blueshirts will pursue Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency, which would probably mean less money available for Smith.

It remains to be seen if the Rangers will, indeed, make a big push for Shattenkirk. The addition of Anthony DeAngelo in the Derek Stepan trade may have lessened their urgency in that regard.

“He’s a puck-moving right-handed defenseman that can run the power play and shoot the puck,” GM Jeff Gorton said of DeAngelo, per Sporting News.

Which sounds a lot like Shattenkirk, no?

Smith, 28, was traded to the Rangers from Detroit on Feb. 28.

Sens extend McCormick — two years, $1.3 million

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Looks as though forward Max McCormick has a future in Ottawa.

On Tuesday, the Sens signed McCormick to a two-year extension worth $650,000 annually — and, perhaps most importantly, it’s a one-way deal in the second year.

McCormick, 25, also has a $250,000 guaranteed AHL salary next season.

The deal comes after he set a career high and tied for the AHL Binghamton team lead in goals last year, with 21. McCormick also appeared in seven games for Ottawa — this after playing 20 in ’15-16 — and emerged as a high-energy guy with an edge to his game.

Despite not being overly big (5-foot-11, 188 pounds), McCormick fought seven times for Binghamton last season, and led the team in penalty minutes. The year prior, he scrapped 12 times between the Sens and Baby Sens.

A spot at the NHL level could soon materialize. The Sens have already announced they’re moving on from free agent forward Chris Neil, and the futures of fellow UFAs Viktor Stalberg, Chris Kelly and Tommy Wingels remain uncertain.

Carolina re-signs Chelios, Brown

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The ‘Canes retained some organizational depth on Tuesday, agreeing to terms with defenseman Jake Chelios — the son of Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios — and forward Patrick Brown.

Brown’s contract is a one-year, $650,000 extension, one that will pay $160,000 at the AHL level, with a guarantee of $190,000.

Brown, 25, split last season between Charlotte and Carolina, appearing in a career-high 14 contest with the ‘Canes. The Boston College product scored 12 goals and 28 points in 66 games with the Checkers.

Chelios, 26, has yet to make his NHL debut but is coming off a strong season with Charlotte. He served as an alternate captain and had a strong offensive campaign, with 32 points in 76 contests. That led all Checkers d-men in scoring, and he was the only player on the team to appear in every single game this season.

Like Brown, Chelios’ deal will pay $650,000 at the NHL level. It’s $85,000 at the AHL level.

Report: Sens tried to get Methot back from Vegas

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The Ottawa Senators did their best to make sure they didn’t lose Marc Methot in the expansion draft.

They attempted to get Dion Phaneuf to waive his no-move clause so they could keep Methot, but that didn’t work out.

On Monday, TSN hockey analyst Pierre LeBrun reported that the Golden Knights and Senators had been talking about a potential trade back to Ottawa.

In the end, Vegas GM George McPhee preferred to ship him to Dallas for 2017 seventh-rounder Dylan Ferguson and a second-round pick in 2020.

According to beat reporter Bruce Garrioch, Vegas’ asking price to allow the Sens to protect Methot before expansion was a 2018 first-round pick.

Methot has averaged at least 19:49 of ice time during his five seasons in Ottawa.

In the end, all this means is that the Senators will need to find someone else to play on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson next season.

During training camp, Ottawa put top prospect Thomas Chabot with Karlsson. They opted to send Chabot back to junior, but that could be an interesting combination if they think he’s ready to be a regular in the NHL.