There are many reasons why the insane 6-5 overtime win by the Blackhawks in Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final feels like an outlier rather than the start of a new trend as the series shifts to a best-of-three to determine the next NHL champion.
Let’s start with the fact that the Bruins allowed more goals in three-plus periods Wednesday night than they had in the previous three games combined. You can bet that Tuukka Rask won’t give up six goals again in the next three games, just like Zdeno Chara won’t be a game-low minus-3. It’s past the point (and too late in the season) to worry about the B’s bouncing back from defeats as they already showed in Game 2 that losing in the Stanley Cup Final in multiple overtimes hardly fazes them. Plus, having an extra day off between Games 4 and 5 should help them clear their minds ala Game 1 and 2.
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“It’s not fun but we battled back many times, didn’t make it easy on ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s a one-goal game,” noted Rask about the Game 4 loss. “We just made it too tough on ourselves. Not our best night.”
If the puck had bounced the right way for the Bruins in overtime Wednesday, those in Boston would have been talking about one of the great wins in franchise history - not to mention the third time in the series a team won in OT after never leading. Chicago led 1-0, 4-2 and 5-4 meaning that Boston rallied three different times to tie it, only to fall on Brent Seabrook’s clutch goal in the extra session.
As far as individual players go, Bruins forward Rich Peverley and rookie defenseman Torey Krug have to take plenty of confidence out of Game 4. Peverley had, arguably, his best game of the season as he tallied a power-play goal which tied it at1, blocked two shots and won 6-of-11 faceoffs. He was also solid on the penalty kill (1:38 ice time). Krug hadn’t been heard from much since the Rangers series but he had four shots on goal and he helped Boston’s power play (2-for-5) have one of its best performances of the postseason as it looked dangerous the majority of the time it was on the ice.
Perhaps the biggest storyline if you’re being a glass-half-full Bruins fan is that they have definitely discovered Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford’s weakness - his glove hand. Ten of the 12 goals he’s allowed in the four games thurs far have been to his glove side and eight have been high glove. It’s enough of a trend that all the amateur comedians on Twitter picked up on it during the game. His secret is clearly out so we’ll have to see how Chicago responds for the rest of the series because there is only so much you can do when your goaltender is deficient in an important area.
The Bruins have already ensured that there will be another Cup Final game in Boston Monday night. The question now is whether or not they’ll be one win from the Cup or one loss away from a bitter, season-ending defeat.
“Everybody is disappointed here right now but at the end of the day, if you look at a series, that’s supposed to happen,” admitted Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “Being tied going back there, we did have a chance to go up 3-1 but it doesn’t matter what could’ve been. Now we have to look forward and focus on the next game.”
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate