CHICAGO — He had, perhaps, the freshest legs of anyone in a Bruins sweater, but Kaspars Daugavins wore the longest expression of anyone in the somber visitors’ dressing room at the United Center following a gut-wrenching 4-3 loss in triple overtime to the Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Daugavins accepted full culpability for failing to pull the trigger on the Bruins best chance to pull out a win when he had a look at an open net, tried to drag the puck across the crease and wound up stumbling when Johnny Oduya came with a strong backcheck that disrupted Daugavins’s goalmouth bid against Corey Crawford (51 saves).
“If we win the game, we get a 1-0 lead in the series, then 2-3 minutes later we go down, 1-0,’’ Daugavins said, referring to Andrew Shaw’s winning redirect at 12:08 of triple OT. “I should take a little blame for it. I should’ve put it in there, and given us the [series] lead.’’
Daugavins, who played Game 1 vs. Toronto but was a healthy scratch the next 14 games, missing the remainder of the Toronto seven-game series and the entire five-game series vs. the Rangers. But he returned to the ice in time to log 6:46 of ice time in the clinching Game 4 victory over the Penguins.
In all, he had attempted four shots, but none bigger than the point-blank chance he missed against the Blackhawks, which haunted Daugavins afterward.
Asked if the puck was not settled, Daugavins said, “It wasn’t bouncing. I had everything like I wanted to do it. I shot it, but I got tripped, so I was falling when I was shooting it and I just missed the puck.
“It’s a play where it goes back post and the goalie would most likely slide over trying to make a save with the full body,’’ Daugavins said. “I had time definitely to put it up there, but I just missed it.’’
Asked if he saw the replay on the video screen above the United Center ice, Daugavins said, “Yeah, I looked it up, and it was painful to watch.’’
But it was even more painful to have lived.
“I got a great feed by [Tyler] Seguin backdoor,’’ said Daugvins, who wound up with three shots, two hits, and one missed shot in 15:09 ice time. “I thought the goalie was covering it. On the replay I saw I could’ve put it straight in, but I still took it to my backhand and had wide open net pretty much. I should’ve just went up and scored.
“I tripped, I was falling, and I just missed my shot.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.