Blackhawks counterpunch, win Game 4 over Bruins in OT
In a series where it seemed 2-1 games would become the norm, the Blackhawks and Bruins threw out the script and re-wrote an 11-goal scoring masterpiece in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks are the only team that will look back on it fondly.
Chicago edged the B’s, 6-5, thanks to a Brent Seabrook strike from the point that beat Tuukka Rask (41 saves) stick-side 9:51 into the extra session.
The two teams entered overtime tied at 5. Boston, which had been playing catch-up throughout the game scored at the 12:14 mark of the third period when Nathan Horton fed Johnny Boychuk with a pretty shuffle pass to the right. Boychuk then ripped a thunderous slap shot past Chicago netminder Corey Crawford (28 saves), glove-side, and it was near certain that the two teams would meet in another familiar overtime session.
Chicago had leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 and 4-2 at certain points in regulation. Patrick Sharp tallied the final Blackhawks goal of the first three periods when he found the net on a power play at the 11:19 mark. Patrice Bergeron, who continued his other-worldly play, had knotted the game 4-4 nine minutes earlier on a slap shot off an assist by Jaromir Jagr.
Boston had looked sluggish earlier in the game, notably to begin the second period as the ’Hawks sped up the play on the ice. Jonathan Toews put Chicago up 2-1 at the 6:33 mark of the second period with Michal Rozsival contributing the lone assist.
Rask looked vulnerable for, arguably, the first time in over a month when Patrick Kane banged home a second chance opportunity to put the Blackhawks up 3-1 at the 8:41 mark of the second.
But the B’s bounced back quickly. Zdeno Chara kept a play alive, allowing Milan Lucic to slide one past Crawford at 14:43 in the second. Bergeron put another home for Boston minutes later when he collected a bouncing puck that had come down from the glass and over the back of the net. Bergeron didn’t miss from point-blank range, making it 4-3. Chicago’s Marcus Kruger had a goal sandwiched in between the Boston strikes.
Michal Handzus ended the Blackhawks’ recent series dry spell at the 6:48 mark of the first period with a short-handed goal that momentarily stunned the Garden crowd.
What they’ll be saying: This series is now certain to go down as a classic as it will have to go to six or possibly seven games to determine a winner. The B’s and ‘Hawks played their fifth overtime session of the series and fatigued could have very well been a factor for Game 5 in Chicago had it not been for the NHL schedule-makers, who give both teams an extra day off. The two teams also had an extra day off in between Game 1 and Game 2. Game 5 is Saturday at 8 p.m. in Chicago (NBC).
B’s fans must now hope that Tuukka Rask allowing six goals was nothing more than an aberration. It’s not as if Rask played poorly – he deflected a whopping 41 Chicago shots – but it still was a change of pace from what we’ve seen out of Rask since the beginning of May. On the flip side, the Bruins may be solving Corey Crawford. Boston fans seemed to have the Chicago netminder rattled in the third period with sarcastic chants of “Crawwwww-ford! … “Crawwww-ford!” as he was unable to maintain several Blackhawks leads. He finished with 28 saves in the game.