Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/5/14
Every spring we hear what sounds an awful lot like hyperbole when it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Players, fans and media alike rave about the incredible feat of strength that is finishing an entire postseason. It’s impressive, no doubt, but these guys are professional athletes playing their sport. It’s what they do, isn’t it? But then games like Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final happen, and you realize what these men put themselves through is truly remarkable. The Bruins and Blackhawks entered the first game of the Cup Final having played a combined 129 games since mid-January leading up to the Final. They kicked that potential seven-game series off by playing almost two entire games. The final amount of game time was 112 minutes and 8 seconds, the fifth-longest game in Stanley Cup Final history. You could try and paint an eloquent picture of Game 1, but sometimes, the numbers and their sheer insanity tell the entire story. The two teams combined for 117 shots on goal. The Blackhawks attempted 132 shots — 63 were on goal, 40 were blocked and 29 missed the net. That’s compared to “only” 85 from the Bruins — 54 on net, 23 blocked and eight misses. Tuukka Rask gave up four goals, but still set a new career high with 59 saves, the most saves in a Cup Final game since Patrick Roy recorded 63 saves in a 1-0 shutout that clinched the 1996 Stanley Cup for the Colorado Avalanche. The two teams combined for 120 hits, with Chicago holding a slight 61-59 in that somewhat arbitrary statistic. Andrew Ference led all skaters with 10 hits, while Bryan Bickell, Brandon Bollig and Brandon Shaw all registered nine hits apiece. Every Blackhawks skater registered at least one hit, while Patrice Bergeron and Jaromir Jagr were the only Bruins without at least one hit. There were 114 faceoffs — the Bruins won that battle by a slim 58-56 margin. Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron, two Selke Trophy nominees, took 44 and 44 faceoffs respectively. They split their 10 draws against each other. The Bruins blocked 40 shots. Fourteen of the Bruins’ 18 skaters blocked at least one shot. Dennis Seidenberg was an absolute monster. He logged 48:36 on 57 shifts with seven hits and nine blocked shots. Ference also put up insane numbers. He played 45:19 on 56 shifts with his game-high 10 hits and his eight blocked shots were second to just Seidenberg. Zdeno Chara played 45:05, despite serving a two-minute penalty in the second period. It’s the second time this postseason he’s played at least 42 minutes, and it’s the fifth time in these playoffs that he’s played at least 33 minutes. Duncan Keith played a game-high 48:40 on just 53 shifts, meaning he averaged a game-high 55 seconds per shift. Jagr, at the age of 41, played 33:48. That’s the most ice time he’s seen in a game since he played 41:25 for the Washington Capitals in a 2003 playoff game against Tampa Bay. Between Johnny Oduya‘s game-tying goal and the Shaw game-winner in the third overtime, the two teams played 59:54 — 6 seconds shy of an entire game — of scoreless hockey. We thought that this might be a fantastic Stanley Cup Final, but anyone who said they saw this coming is a liar. The bar has been set high after what will go down as one of the best NHL games we’ll ever see. Hopefully the rest of the series lives up to the opener.

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