To start off the Stanley Cup finals, the Blackhawks weren’t necessarily out to adapt to the Bruins’ physical style–they just weren’t going to be bullied around. Chicago outhit Boston by plenty in the early-going, and that translated into a promising performance to begin the game for the Blackhawks. The raucous United Center crowd immediately made its presence felt, and although the Bruins had more goal chances, the Blackhawks took control, stemming from their physical pace.
The physicality surely didn’t faze the Bruins, who are used to such play. The hits kept coming their way, but the Bruins either avoided them or turned the hitting plays into opportunities for themselves. Also, what might have been more shots on goal for Chicago actually resulted into deflections by Bruins players–Boston outblocked Chicago 9 to 5.
The shots on goal were there for Boston to start, but none really came to fruition. The turning point occurred when the Hawks truly made the Bruins netminder Tukkaa Rask sweat, who had to stave off several great chances by Chicago. Of course, it was indeed “Tukkaa time”, at least for the 1st period: the Boston goaltender was as resilient as ever. The Bruins started to put more and more pressure on Corey Crawford, keeping the puck on offense for more time, and eventually culminating in a goal by Milan Lucic. As noted above, the Bruins actually turned a hit attempt by the Blackhawks into an opportunity–Nathan Horton dodged a hit–which led to the lone goal scored in the period.
Lucic may have gotten the praise for the score, but David Krejci set the tone for Boston’s dominance (as well as contributing an assist on Lucic’s goal). The Bruins center kept his team’s offensive chances alive throughout the 1st period, and showed that Chicago’s instituted physicality would not hinder Boston’s style of play–either through smack talk or how he played on the ice.