The action was so fast and furious that it took a toll on the players, with Horton skating off during a power play with an injury — likely a serious one to leave the ice during that pivotal moment.
The Blackhawks trailed 3-1 in the third period before they turned up the pressure on Rask, who stepped up when he faced a similar attack from Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference finals. This time, he coughed up the lead, hurt by one unlucky carom.
First, Bolland converted a nice pass from Shaw for his first goal of the playoffs. Then Oduya's long slap shot went off the left skate of Boston defenseman Andrew Ference and into the net for the tying goal with 7:46 remaining in regulation.
Oduya's shot was going wide if it didn't hit Ference's skate.
"We were up two goals and all of a sudden the game was tied," said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, who had more than 45 minutes of ice time. "We've got two days to regroup and get ready for the next game."
The sellout crowd of 22,110 cheered as Krejci and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews stared each other down for the opening faceoff of the first Stanley Cup finals between Original Six franchises in 34 years.
And it almost didn't happen.
Game 1 came exactly five months after the official end of a long and bitter lockout. The labor dispute wiped out 510 games, but the sides managed to come together in time to save an abbreviated 48-game season and playoffs.
They were rewarded with a final playoff series between two big-market teams with passionate followings and scores of top players. Led by Toews and a group of skilled forwards, the Blackhawks returned to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since they won it all three year ago. Boston won the title the following season, and the same core of players is at the center of this year's playoff run.
It was enough to attract the attention of President Barack Obama, who has a home in Chicago and made it clear who he was pulling for before the opener. He wished the Blackhawks good luck over Twitter before adding: "hope to welcome you back to the White House again as #StanleyCup champs."
Boston countered with a Rolling Stone: Mick Jagger tweeted a picture of himself holding a Bruins jersey before a show at TD Garden.
The Bruins got off to fast start behind Lucic, who converted a nice pass from Horton for the first goal of the series at 13:11 in the first.
Lucic set up his second goal with a little dirty work. He won the puck in a scrum along the boards, got a pass from Krejci and fired it into the right side just 51 seconds into the second period, extending Boston's lead to 2-0 with his fifth goal of the playoffs.
The two-goal lead looked like a sure bet with Rask in net, but the Blackhawks found a way to get back into the game against the red-hot goaltender. Marian Hossa stole the puck from Dennis Seidenberg in the Boston end and fed Saad, who one-timed it past Rask at 3:08 in the second.
Saad's goal ended a scoreless streak of 149 minutes and 36 seconds for Rask dating to Game 3 of the sweep against the Penguins.
That got the crowd going again, and the Blackhawks drew a pair of penalties in rapid succession to earn a 5-on-3 power play for 1:17. With the prime opportunity to move into a tie, they passed the puck around too much and the Bruins easily killed off both penalties.
NOTES: It was the first game between the teams since Boston's 3-2 shootout victory on Oct. 15, 2011. There were no games against teams from the other conference during the lockout-shortened season. ... This is the first playoff series between the teams since Boston swept Chicago in the 1978 quarterfinals. The Bruins won five of their six previous postseason series against the Blackhawks.