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There were plenty of reasons for optimism for the Bruins, who led 3-1 in the third period and had numerous opportunities to win in the overtimes. Two shots went off posts. Kaspars Daugavins had a terrific opportunity in the third extra session, but was unable to knock it in.

While the Bruins just missed on a couple of great scoring opportunities, Johnny Oduya’s tying goal for Chicago in the third period was headed wide before it went off the left skate of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference. Then there was the carom off Shaw’s right leg for the winning score.

“I think what it shows everybody is it’s going to be a great, tight series,” Ference said. “There’s going to be little plays that do make the difference and that’s fine by us. I think both teams are comfortable in tight games and have dealt with that before. It’s good.”

Besides, the couple of fortunate plays for Chicago were far from a happy accident. The Blackhawks’ emphasis on traffic in front of the net and throwing pucks on the goal paid dividends when they ran into a pair of hot goaltenders in the previous two rounds, and it worked again when they pelted Tuukka Rask with 63 shots in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Expect more of the same for the rest of the series. The Blackhawks think if Rask can see the puck coming, it will be next to impossible to score against the 6-foot-2 goalie.

“Sometimes you can maybe beat them with one-timers, but I think traffic is the key,” Quenneville said. “Loose pucks, getting to the net is critical scoring goals against these top guys.”

The Blackhawks and Bruins had kept an eye on each other for weeks as both teams progressed through the playoffs, but the three-overtime thriller was their first game since Boston’s 3-2 shootout victory on Oct. 15, 2011. There were no games against teams from the other conference during the lockout-shortened season.

After all that video and scouting, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said the Bruins are everything he thought they would be, and then some.

“I know you watch them, now you get to play against them, you see they’re fast, maybe faster than you anticipated,” he said. “Their top line was extremely dangerous. They’ve got some guys that can make plays. They got patience with the puck. Certainly got our attention.”