CHICAGO — Tuukka Rask needed just four words to sum up the goal that beat him and the Boston Bruins.
"Point shot, tip, goal," he said.
There wasn't much more to say.
In the end, key mistakes by his teammates late in regulation and one wild series of deflections at the end were simply too much for Rask to overcome. Now, the Bruins trail the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals. Don't blame their goalie for that.
Rask did his part, but the Bruins fell 4-3 in triple overtime in a riveting Game 1. The best-of-7 series continues Saturday at the United Center.
The longer this one went, the more convinced Rask became that a bad bounce would end this one, and that's exactly what happened.
Michael Rozsival's shot deflected off Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw before slipping into the net for the winner at 12:08 of the third OT, bringing a wild game to an appropriate finish.
"You're not going to make any fancy backdoor plays," Rask said. "That's where it came down to. I thought, especially in the last overtime, we were forcing the play a little too much and they just shot the puck and it found its way in and it went in."
It was a fitting conclusion to a game that saw the Bruins blow a two-goal lead late in regulation through little fault of Rask's. Had the puck not been deflected, Rask believes he would have stopped it. After all, it wasn't a hard shot by Roszival. He just threw it into traffic.
"Last time we won the Cup, we lost the first two games to Vancouver. It never stopped us from coming back. This certainly won't," coach Claude Julien said. "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."
Either way, this game more than lived up to the hype.
In the first championship meeting in 34 years between Original Six franchises, the Bruins were sailing along with a 3-1 lead after Milan Lucic scored twice and Patrice Bergeron added a power-play goal just over six minutes into the third period.
Then, in a flash, everything changed for Boston. What looked like a safe lead quickly evaporated thanks to one big turnover and one unfortunate bounce for the Bruins.
The comeback started when Shaw picked off a clearing attempt by Torey Krug and fed Dave Bolland on a two-on-one rush to pull Chicago within one with 12 minutes left in regulation. Lucic then got stopped on a two-on-one by Corey Crawford midway through the third, and Johnny Oduya tied it for Chicago when his shot from the point deflected off Boston's Andrew Ference defending at the side of the crease and bounced past Rask.
Just like that, the game was tied.
Rask came in with a league playoff-high .943 save percentage, and he stopped 59 shots in this one. He went 149:36 without giving up a goal before rookie Brandon Saad scored off a feed from Marian Hossa to make it 2-1 and bring the crowd to its feet.
They were really roaring in the end, and now, the Bruins will have to shake this one off after winning nine of the previous 10 games.
"We had the game," Rask said. "We're up 3-1 in the third and then a terrible turnover leads to a second goal and then a tough bounce leads to the tying goal, and we just gave it away."
|East Tenn St||64||FINAL|
|Fla Gulf Coast||69|
|Sam Houston St||71|
|UC Santa Barbara||86|
|New Mexico St||81|
|Stephen F Austin||83|
|SE Missouri St||76||FINAL|
|Cal State Fullerton||44|
|Long Beach State||83||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||93|
|Stephen F Austin||72|
|East Tenn St||74||FINAL|
|(13) North Carolina||69|
|New Mexico St||56||FINAL|
|Long Beach St||49|
|Cal State Fullerton||72||FINAL|
|UC Santa Barbara||60||FINAL|