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The real three stars of Game 1

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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final proved to be one for the ages Wednesday night (and early Thursday morning for those in attendance), and while the Chicago Blackhawks escaped with a 1-0 series lead, you couldn’t help but get the feeling that this is going to be a long, competitive series — and the Boston Bruins aren’t going anywhere just yet.

There were plenty of deserving candidates for Game 1’s three stars here at FOXSports.com, but after more than 112 minutes of hockey that we won’t soon forget, here were our favorite candidates from the night that was:

FIRST STAR: Deflections

There’s nothing more exciting than bonus playoff hockey, and we have Andrew Ference’s skate to thank for more of it than we bargained for Wednesday night. Without this accidental deflection into his own net with 7:46 left in the third, the Bruins would have likely won the game in regulation, and we’d have missed out on one of the most exciting Cup finishes you’ll ever see:

That being said, it gets to a point where enough is enough, and eventually someone needed to score, so everyone could go home and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Enter Michal Rozsival, Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw who teamed up for a twice-deflected game-winner 12:08 into the third overtime period. Shaw then immediately followed it up by dropping an F-bomb on live TV at the 2:09 mark of the video below:

 

SECOND STAR: Corey Crawford (OK, and Tuukka Rask)

It was said by many before the series that this Stanley Cup would come down to goaltending , and Game 1 lived up to that hype, regardless of what the 4-3 final score might suggest.

You simply couldn’t ask for a better-goaltended game than the one played by Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford, who combined for 110 saves on 117 shots at the United Center. Unfortunately, someone had to lose, and this time it was Rask, who gave up two more goals than he did in the entire Penguins series but still stopped a career-high 59 shots in the loss. (Though there’s a case to be made that at least two of the goals Rask allowed — the game-tying shot and the game winner — were unstoppable.)

Meanwhile, Crawford was absolutely electric, and he only got better as the game went on. His first-period glove save was the kind of stop young goaltenders dream of making, and he spent overtime on his head, but never allowing the puck to pass.

 

 

If these guys continue to play like they did Wednesday, it’ll be a long series for both offenses.

 

THIRD STAR: CM Punk

Before you think I've taken a puck to my turnbuckle, just look at this:

You’ve got to give the Chicago native and WWE superstar credit. On a night when Blackhawks supporters braved this vicious storm to see the game live, Punk might have been the most rabid fan out there — and he wasn’t even in the building for the game. His night of live tweeting started with this message just after 8:30 p.m. ET and ended with this one just after 1 a.m.

In between, Punk fluctuated between frustration:

Armchair coaching:

Sheer joy (after Johnny Oduya’s game-tying goal in the third period):

Nervousness:

Randomness:

NSFW jubilation after Shaw’s game-winner:

And finally, respect:

Say what you will about pro wrestling, and think what you want about CM Punk’s tweeting, he was nothing if not interesting — and at least he’s not a bandwagon jumper like Mick Jagger, who tweeted this from Boston before the game:

Tagged: Bruins, Blackhawks, Andrew Ference, Corey Crawford, Tuukka Rask

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