CHICAGO -- It was past the midway point of the third overtime. Wednesday night was turning into Thursday morning. Legs were wobbly, mental toughness was being challenged and physical exhaustion was the norm.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins had to fight through it all to determine a winner in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Both sides figured it was going to take one of those greasy, dirty goals to end the night at United Center.
"It wasn't going to be a pretty one," Blackhawks center Dave Bolland said.
He was right -- and it came off the leg of a guy who typically scores ugly goals.
Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw scored a double-deflection goal off his right leg 12:08 into the third overtime to give Chicago a come-from-behind 4-3 win in triple overtime to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
After two much-needed days off following a game that lasted 112:08, the fifth-longest in Stanley Cup Final history, the Blackhawks will look to hold serve at home Saturday in Game 2 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Defenseman Michal Rozsival took the initial shot that deflected off Bolland before Shaw, who had floated into the low slot between Bruins defenseman Torey Krug and goalie Tuukka Rask, had it clip his leg and go into the net.
"We've preached it -- go to the net, you'll find a way to get a greasy goal," Shaw said. "We did a heck of a job of it there in the third overtime."
The Blackhawks got goals from Bolland and defenseman Johnny Oduya in a 4:14 span midway through the third period to force overtime. That's when Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was at his best, making the difference with 29 of his 51 saves during the 52:08 played in the three extra periods.
"That's the longest game I've ever played in," Crawford said. "Especially at a stage like this, it was so much fun to win that one."
Two minutes before Shaw scored the winner, Oduya came up with arguably the biggest defensive play of the game.
Bruins forward Kaspars Daugavins was trying to make a move to his backhand in the slot, but Oduya dove back and slid on the ice, reaching out to just barely get his stick on the puck as Daugavins was preparing to shoot. Daugavins would have had to lift the puck to score, but he had the right side of the net open because Crawford was down and reaching back to his left.
"I just tried to put my stick in and kind of force him to do something," Oduya said. "I got lucky on that play. I think getting my stick in there so he couldn't get the shot off. [Crawford] was there, too, sliding over and taking that way. It was a lucky play."
Crawford came up with several superb saves in overtime before Shaw won it. He made 12 saves in the first OT, including one on Tyler Seguin off a 3-on-2 rush with 4:23 remaining. David Krejci had a chance on the rebound, but Bolland came in and swept the puck away.
Crawford made 10 saves in the second overtime, including another big one on Seguin off a breakaway early in the period. He also made back-to-back saves on Daniel Paille and Krug with a little more than five minutes to play before the fifth intermission of the night. His pad save on Krug was off the rebound he left from Paille's shot.
He also got lucky when Bruins captain Zdeno Chara hit the right post with a low, deflected slap shot during a Bruins' power play with 10 seconds left in the second OT.
Crawford made seven more saves in the third overtime.
"I think we can finally stop asking questions if he's a No. 1 guy," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said of Crawford.
In addition, Chicago's League-best penalty kill also killed off a pair of overtime bench minors for too many men on the ice. The Blackhawks' first penalty kill, in the third period, lasted 18 seconds before Patrice Bergeron scored at 6:09 to give Boston a short-lived 3-1 lead.
The Bruins lost Nathan Horton during their power play in the first overtime. He left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return.
Boston killed off all three of Chicago's power plays in the second period, including a 5-on-3 for 77 seconds when the score was 2-1.
"Last time we won the Cup [in 2011], we lost the first two games to Vancouver," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "It never stopped us from coming back. This certainly won't."
Bolland started the Blackhawks' comeback with 12 minutes to play in regulation when he scored with a one-timer from the left circle after Krug coughed up the puck during a Bruins line change. Oduya tied it 3-3 with 7:46 left in regulation when his shot from the point hit Boston defenseman Andrew Ference's left skate and angled back into the net.
"We had the game, up 3-1 in the third," said Rask, who made a career-high 59 saves, including 24 in the overtimes. "A terrible turnover leads to the second goal and then bad bounce for the tying goal and we just gave it away."
Rask's shutout streak of 149:36 came to an end when Chicago rookie Brandon Saad scored his first career playoff goal 3:08 into the second period after the Bruins had taken a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Milan Lucic.
Lucic snapped a seven-game goalless drought with goals at 13:11 of the first period and 51 seconds into the second.
"You can dwell on it as much as you want, but at the end of the day you've got to be able to turn the page and focus on Game 2," Lucic said. "Shoulda, woulda, coulda is not going to get you anywhere. It's not going to win us a game in the end. And I think we need to focus on Game 2 as fast as we can."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl