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Saad, Bolland score timely goals in Blackhawks’ win

BostBruins center Patrice Berger(37) takes shot against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) goalie Corey Crawford (50) center Michal Handzus

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) takes a shot against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2), goalie Corey Crawford (50) and center Michal Handzus (26) during the first period of Game 1 in their NHL Stanley Cup Final hockey series on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Updated: August 12, 2013 2:20AM



If it wasn’t for two Blackhawks breaking some frustrating goal droughts, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins may have never turned into the epic, never-ending showdown it became Wednesday at the United Center.

Forwards Brandon Saad and Dave Bolland both scored their first goals of the postseason in the Hawks’ enthralling 4-3 victory in triple overtime. Their goals snapped the Bruins’ momentum when they were scored.

Saad’s goal in the second period came minutes after the Bruins had taken a 2-0 lead. Marian Hossa made a strong play along the boards and fed Saad, who one-timed it over goalie Tuukka Rask.

Saad has had plenty of chances this postseason, especially since he saw time among the top-six forwards, and before the game, he said that, “hopefully, [I’m] saving up for this round.”

“I popped into the slot a little bit and was kind of all alone, and [Hossa] made a nice pass,” Shaw said. “I ended up burying it. It felt good.”

For Bolland, it was some redemption for a tough postseason thus far. He put in a nice pass from Andrew Shaw after a Bruins turnover to cut Boston’s lead to 3-2 at 8:00 in the third period. It woke up the United Center and the Hawks. Just over four minutes later, defenseman Johnny Oduya tied the game.

Overall, it was probably Bolland’s best game of the playoffs. He also had an assist on Shaw’s game-winner and made a handful of stellar defensive plays during the overtime periods.

“At the start, things weren’t going that well,” Bolland said. “For myself, I just had to battle through. Things go up and down. … I think I’m getting back to my old game.”

Forgotten play

Lost in the overtime madness that became Game 1 was how the Bruins were able to take a 1-0 lead and silence the United Center crowd.

Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson went for a big hit on Bruins center David Krejci and missed. Krejci played the puck to winger Nathan Horton who fed bruiser Milan Lucic for a goal at 13:11 in the first period.

If Hjalmarsson would have played the puck instead, the play may have never developed. But his attempted hit was part of a concerted effort by the Hawks to establish an early physical tone. The Hawks recorded 10 hits, many of them big ones, in the first five minutes.

In some ways, it played into the Bruins’ strengths. It turned out to be the start of good night for Bruins’ top line.

“I thought they had a monster game, their top line,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Maybe we were looking for a little bit more balance, keeping aware of that line. But they were tough to handle.”

City support

Bears coach Marc Trestman, who grew up playing pond hockey in Minnesota, said the Bears can learn something from the Hawks.

“I was just talking to some of the guys about the way that the Blackhawks have handled their success throughout the season,” Trestman said. “They’ve gone out with the constant daily mind set of just trying to get better. That’s what you hear from the players. They are a hard-working team. I’ve watched them play in person and on TV. You can learn from the way they built their team and how they’ve responded, not only to their success but also the periodic adversity they’ve had throughout the year. As professionals, coaches and athletes, we can learn from them and their success. I think we do watching them play.”



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