Andrew Shaw scored with 7:52 to play in the third overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals from the United Center.
Michal Rozsival got the puck at the right point and flung it on net. Dave Bolland got a stick on it in the slot, and the puck then went off the right knee of Shaw to get past Tuukka Rask for the win.
"This is something you dream of as a kid and you have to seize the opportunity when it's there," said Shaw of his winner. "It was luck."
Chicago is playing in its first Cup Finals since winning it all in 2010, which ended with a Patrick Kane goal in overtime of Game 6 to clinch the series over the Philadelphia Flyers.
It wasn't easy for the Blackhawks in this game, the longest of these playoffs, as the Bruins controlled much of the play in the first two periods and held a 3-1 lead after Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal at 6:09 of the third period.
Goals from Bolland and Johnny Oduya, though, forced the overtime and Corey Crawford made 29 of his 51 saves in the extra periods to give the Blackhawks the lead in this best-of-seven series.
"Crowe was great, he kept us in there," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville about his goaltender. "He made several all-alone plays and saves. Had some odd-man breaks, some dangerous looks. He was great. Found the puck, challenged. A lot of pucks at the net, a lot of bouncing pucks with traffic, and a big penalty kill as well."
The fifth longest game in Cup Finals history came in a contest which saw two Original Six teams meet in the Cup Finals for the first time since 1979, when the Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers in five games in the final championship of four straight for the Habs.
Also, this was the longest Game 1 of a Stanley Cup Finals series since Edmonton and Boston set a record with 55:13 of extra time in the 1990 finals.
Milan Lucic had a pair of goals and an assist, while Rask made 59 saves for the Bruins, who are back in the finals for the first time since defeating the Canucks in seven games in 2011.
"I thought that in overtime we got better, we got a little stronger," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "We had some great looks, some great opportunities, we just didn't bury them. Eventually somebody is going to score a goal as fatigue sets in. Not disappointed in our effort. There's certain things you're going to want to fix for next game. But as far as the game is concerned, it was a hard fought game."
Game 2 of this series will take place on Saturday night in Chicago.
With Boston holding a 2-1 lead in the third period, Chicago took its first penalty of the game at 5:51 when Michael Frolik was called for a trip on Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, and the Boston power play went to work.
The Blackhawks had killed off 55-of-58 shorthanded situations in the playoffs coming into the game, but failed to stop this one as Bergeron cashed in to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead.
Lucic held the puck along the right boards and sent a pass to the slot that got deflected, but it made its way to Tyler Seguin, who quickly fired it over to the left circle where Bergeron one-timed it home with a clink of iron at 6:09.
Chicago refused to give an inch from there, potting the next two goals.
The first one came off a Boston mistake as rookie defenseman Torey Krug tried to clear the puck out of his end through the middle and it was picked off by Shaw, who skated it in down the right wing. From the boards, he fired it over to the left side and Bolland one-timed it home for his first of the playoffs at the eight-minute mark.
Crawford kept it a one-goal game with around 10 1/2 minutes left as he stopped Lucic off a 2-on-1 and the Blackhawks rewarded his efforts.
Holding the puck at the right point, Oduya blasted a shot on net that was going wide, but it hit off the back of the left skate of Andrew Ference and trickled past Rask to tie the game at 12:14.
Both sides had their chances to finish the game in regulation, but the goaltenders held their ground to force overtime.
The best chance of the first overtime came around the eight-minute mark as Rich Peverley fired a shot from the left circle that Crawford stopped, and the goaltender then made a beautiful save on Seguin's backhand on the rebound.
Chicago was whistled for too many men with 7:52 to play in the overtime, and the team caught a break during the shorthanded situation as a Nathan Horton rebound chance went off the post.
With just over four minutes to play, Boston rushed down the other end and a shot from the slot by Seguin was stopped. David Krejci tried to follow up with the rebound, but it was just out of his reach.
Frolik had a pair of shots late in the frame, but Rask turned away both to force a second overtime.
With the legs starting to get tired, neither side had many quality chances in the early part of the second overtime, but each squad had an opportunity pass by later in the frame.
Frolik broke through the defense down low and was able to get a shot off on a rolling puck, but it went wide with around 6 1/2 minutes to play.
Just over a minute later, Daniel Paille blasted a shot from the right wing that Crawford stopped. A big rebound went to the left point and Krug got a one-timer off, but Crawford made a left pad save to keep the game going.
Chicago took its second too many men call with 52.8 seconds to play in the second overtime and dodged a couple of bullets to send the game to a third extra session.
Crawford made a stop on a Jaromir Jagr right circle shot moments into the advantage, and a Chara shot from the high slot was tipped off the right post by Jagr seconds before time expired.
Boston broke through at the 13:11 mark of the opening period. Krejci went for the puck behind the net and shrugged off a hit from Niklas Hjalmarsson. Krejci then dished the disc to the left circle where Horton one-touched it to the slot, and Lucic one-timed the puck home for his fourth of the playoffs.
Rask stopped eight shots in the first period and made a stop just 30 seconds into the second period as Marian Hossa got a shot on net from the slot that saw Rask make a left pad save on and the play went the other way.
Lucic won a battle in the neutral zone along the left boards and got the puck to Krejci, who took the disc in down the left wing. From the top of the circle, Krejci fed it to the slot and Lucic one-timed it in off Crawford for his second of the game 51 seconds in.
Chicago got on the board just over two minutes later. Hossa stole the puck behind the net and skated to the left boards, before sending it to the circle where Brandon Saad one-timed it high into the net for his first career playoff goal.
The strike energized Chicago as the team took the play to Boston over the next several minutes, generating pressure in the visitors' end and sending several shots on Rask.
Jonathan Toews had an excellent chance with just over 13 minutes to play when he sent a shot on net from the slot, but Rask came up with the stop.
The first power play of the game went to Chicago when Horton was called for interference on Michal Handzus in front of the Chicago net at 12:23.
Just 43 seconds later, Boston was called for too many men on the ice to give Chicago 1:17 worth of a 5-on-3, but the Bruins penalty killers did their job and limited the Blackhawks to just one shot, a one-timer from Patrick Sharp at the left circle that Rask easily stopped.
Chicago was awarded another power play when Chara was called for high sticking with 7:07 to play, but again limited the hosts to just one shot to maintain a one-goal lead.
The road team was 7-0 in triple-overtime games in the Stanley Cup Finals prior to this game ... Game 1 of last year's Stanley Cup Finals between Los Angeles and New Jersey also went to overtime, and it is the first time since 1934 and 1935 that consecutive Cup Final openers went to an extra session ... Chicago, which won the Presidents' Trophy this season, is 10-1 at home during the playoffs, while Boston fell to 5-3 as the visitors ... This is the first time the Bruins and Blackhawks are meeting in the playoffs since the Bruins earned a sweep in the opening round of the 1978 playoffs ... Chicago has won five of the six postseason meetings between the clubs ... Boston had a streak of four straight Game 1 playoff series victories snapped ... Horton left the game in the first overtime after being hit by a shot and did not return ... Krejci, who had two assists in the game, leads all skaters with 23 points in the postseason ... The 41-year-old Jagr was playing in his first Stanley Cup Finals game since 1992, when he helped Pittsburgh beat Chicago to claim the second of back-to-back titles.