Corey Crawford came up big in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Just as the clock struck midnight at the United Center, Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw scored the game winning goal in triple overtime to give the Hawks a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
We’ll have plenty of coverage of Game 1 over the next few days, as well as previews of Game 2, but for now, here are Wednesday’s Three Stars:
Third Star: Corey Crawford
The stat line for Crawford may not look all that great, but his play in the first period and the overtime frame helped the Blackhawks to stay in the game.
He made some spectacular saves throughout the game, including on a sequence in the overtime that saw the puck come way up on him, but he managed to get his arm onto it and kept it from going in the net.
He had another great save in the second overtime too, when Tyler Seguin broke in on an early breakaway, but Crawford came out of the net and cut off Seguin's ability to deke the puck, and stopped it with his leg pads.
The battle of Tuukka Rask and Crawford was one that a lot of people were willing to chalk up for the Boston keeper, but Crawford showed in this one that he definitely has something to say about that.
Second Star: Andrew Shaw
Not only did Shaw score the game winner in triple overtime, he also delivered six hits for the Blackhawks, and notched the assist on Dave Bolland’s game tying goal in the third period. That assist is why Shaw is on the list.
On the play, Shaw aggressively forechecked the Bruins skaters as they tried to exit the zone, and as a result he intercepted a pass coming across the ice. Then, in one fluid motion, he sped back towards Rask, and fired a gorgeous pass that Bolland one-timed into the net.
Shaw stayed out of trouble in the game as well, instigating a penalty from Zdeno Chara in front of the Hawks’ net in the second period. He also was very aggressive defensively, and the all-around effort that he displayed really helped the Hawks in this contest.
First Star: Dave Bolland
Bolland’s goal in the third period culminated a night full of outstanding play, and it earned him first star honors in this game as far as we're concerned. Bolland was moving all around the Hawks’ lineup throughout the contest, but he didn’t let that stop him from fully engaging for the first time in the playoffs.
He was incredibly aggressive in the neutral zone, disrupting plays and setting up the Hawks’ offense in that area of the ice. He also was finally ready and able to assert himself on offense, and even though he only had two shots on net in the game, the eye test definitely showed that he was arguably the best Hawk on the ice in that department.
Bolland still has a long way to go to earn himself back into the good graces of Hawks fans, but Game 1 was definitely a start in that direction.