In one of the most exciting clashes in Stanley Cup Final history, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins in triple overtime, 4-3, in Game 1 at United Center.
Both teams battled back and forth early on, exhibiting hard-nosed play without the penalties. But it was Bruins left wing Milan Lucic who scored the first goal of the 2013 Stanley Cup.
At the 13:11 mark in the first period, Lucic swung home a 23-foot wrist shot off assists from Nathan Horton and David Krejci, giving the visitors an early 1-0 lead the Bruins would take into the second period.
BuzzFeed Sports provided us with a GIF of the goal:
Both teams compiled 17 hits each in the first period alone, exemplifying the physical nature of the game. Matt Spiegel of The McNeil and Spiegel Show in Chicago summarized:
Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com added:
Meanwhile, an ill-advised tweet by Papa John's was making the rounds. Lisa Horne of Bleacher Report quipped:
It didn't take long for the Bruins to score again in the second period, as Lucic scored his second goal of the game 51 seconds in on a 31-foot slap shot, assisted by Krejci.
BuzzFeed Sports hit us with the GIF:
Pete Jensen of NHL.com tweeted:
But Chicago responded quickly.
At the 3:08 mark, Brandon Saad swung home a 29-foot wrist shot on an assist from Marian Hossa to bring the 'Hawks to within one at 2-1.
At the 7:37 mark, Nathan Horton was given two minutes for interference. Less than one minute later, Boston was hit with another penalty for having to many men on the ice. All of a sudden, Chicago had a 5-3 advantage.
But, despite the advantage, the Blackhawks weren't able to capitalize. During the power play, the Blackhawks only got one shot off on goal, while the Bruins blocked four shots and took the 2-1 lead into the third.
At the 5:51 mark in the third period, Chicago's Michael Frolik was given two minutes for tripping Chara, handing Boston its first power play of the game.
Boston didn't waste time capitalizing, as Patrice Bergeron scored on a 32-foot slap shot at the 6:09 mark, assisted by Tyler Seguin and Lucic.
But just when it looked like the Bruins would ride a 3-1 lead to victory, the Blackhawks responded quickly, as Dave Bolland swung home a 25-foot slap shot.
Rebecca Harlow of NBC Chicago tweeted:
With about 14 minutes left, the Bruins had a 3-2 lead.
Then, the 12:14 mark, the Blackhawks stunned the Bruins, as Johnny Oduya knocked home a 62-foot slap shot off the skate of Andrew Ference.
All of a sudden, the game was tied up with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation, 3-3.
The Bruins had some chances to score down the stretch, but ultimately weren't able to put the puck into the net, setting up overtime.
Boston threatened continually throughout overtime, barely missing goals time and time again, whether it was due to Corey Crawford's splendid play or a scrambling Chicago defense.
At the 12:08 mark, the Blackhawks were whistled for having too many men on the ice, setting up a Bruins power play. But, incredibly, the Bruins weren't able to score then, either, as Chicago appeared to have multiple lives on the ice.
Each team survived some scares down the stretch in the first overtime, but ultimately came away unscathed.
Both teams continued to battle in the second extra period, with tireless efforts to score never coming to fruition. Of course, you can only be tireless for so long. The Bruins and Blackhawks began to tire down the stretch—which is only natural—and the level of punch the two teams exerted began to subside a bit.
At the 19:07 mark in the second overtime, Chicago was whistled for too many men on the ice, but Boston wasn't able to convert over the life of the man advantage.
ESPN Stats & Info tweeted:
Darren Dreger of TSN quipped:
Then, it happened: somebody finally scored.
At the 12:08 mark in the third period, the Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw scored on a 13-foot wrist shot, assisted by Dave Bolland and Michal Rozsival, marking the end of an epic clash in Chicago.
Chicago's Corey Crawford had 51 saves in the win, while Boston's Tuukka Rask had 59 saves in a losing effort. Chicago out-shot Boston, 63-54.