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…

source: Getty Images
Getty

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.