CHICAGO — Long after the celebration was over, Marian Hossa finally made it home and managed to fall asleep around 3 a.m. The Chicago star woke up a few hours later, roused by a noisy neighbor.
“I think my neighbor decided he was going to drill in the morning. That was really unpleasant,” Hossa said Thursday. “You know, hopefully, he is going to get the message for next time, he won’t drill. Feel a little tired today.”
It’s OK, Marian. Everyone was a little tired after a rousing start to the Stanley Cup finals.
Chicago and Boston played three overtimes Wednesday night in the fifth-longest game in the history of the NHL’s marquee series. It finally came to an end – at the stroke of midnight, no less – when Andrew Shaw deflected Dave Bolland’s shot into the goal to give the Blackhawks the 4-3 victory.
It was a deflating outcome for the Bruins, who also lost important forward Nathan Horton to an injury during the first overtime, while the Blackhawks seemed relieved that they didn’t have to sit on such a heartbreaking loss for two days before Game Two on Saturday night.
“It’s one of those games being down 3-1, you come back to tie it 3-3, you feel like something was left on the table if you didn’t come back and win it,” forward Patrick Kane said.
The winner of Game One has gone on to win the title in 56 of the 73 seasons since the NHL went to a best-of-seven format for the championship series in 1939. The Blackhawks won the first two games when they beat Philadelphia to win it all in 2010.
Just don’t expect to see much concern coming from the Boston camp. The Bruins dropped the first two games at Vancouver in the 2011 finals, and went on to take the series in seven games.
“I don’t think much is going to rattle our team,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “We’re a pretty resilient group of guys. We live in the moment.”
Boston was on a power play during the first overtime when Horton tangled with Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in front of the Chicago net. Horton skated off with what appeared to be some sort of upper body injury.
Big ratings in Buffalo
Hockey fans in Buffalo tune in regularly to hockey broadcasts. The tradition continued in a big way Wednesday night.
The Buffalo market ranked fourth in the United States with an 8.5 rating for Game One of the Stanley Cup finals, NBC Sports said today. Buffalo was No. 1 among cities without a rooting interest.
Boston led the way with a 28.1 rating, while Chicago was second at 25.1. Providence, which is home to the Bruins’ minor-league affiliate, was third with an 18.5 rating. Milwaukee (6.1) rounded out the top five.
Chicago’s 4-3 triple-overtime victory posted a 4.8 overnight rating, which NBC said was up 100 percent from last year and the best in 16 years. Detroit and Philadelphia put up a 5.2 on Fox in 1997.
Malkin signs long deal
PITTSBURGH — A day after signing coach Dan Bylsma to a two-year contract extension, the Pittsburgh Penguins and star forward Evgeni Malkin agreed to an eight-year deal that will keep the 2012 NHL MVP and franchise cornerstone Sidney Crosby in the fold well into the next decade.
The $76-million deal begins with the 2014-15 season and will carry an average salary cap hit of $9.5 million, a little bit less than the $10.6 million Crosby will average over the first nine years of the 12-year extension he signed last summer.