CHICAGO — All Claude Julien could do was appreciate the moment.
Never mind that the Boston Bruins lost, that a key player in Nathan Horton was injured and that they trail the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup finals.
That was one epic series opener, a 4-3 triple-overtime thriller that ranked as the fifth-longest finals game in NHL history.
“I even talked about it with my management,” Julien, Boston’s coach, said Thursday. “I said, ‘You know, in reality, it was a great hockey game. You watch the video afterward and you see the excitement and the chances and everything else, the only thing I would be mad about is the fact that we didn’t win. Other than that, this was a great hockey game for people to watch. It was a great hockey game. I thought both teams played well. I don’t think there should be any disappointment in what happened last night, except for us not getting the win that we wanted.”
No matter what happens in Game 2 on Saturday, it will be just about impossible to match that opener.
The first Stanley Cup final between Original Six franchises got off to a rousing start, with the Blackhawks rallying from two goals down in the third period to tie it and Chicago’s Corey Crawford making one big save after another, particularly after regulation.
There was a close call in the closing seconds of the second OT when the puck deflected off Jaromir Jagr and hit the post, and the game finally ended when the Blackhawks’ Michael Roszival delivered a soft shot from the right point that deflected off Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw before slipping past Tuukka Rask.
“I’m sure we captured a few more fans (Wednesday) night with the excitement, and I’m sure it would be a lot better if we came out on top,” Torey Krug said.