Rejuvenated Blackhawks tie series 2-2 with OT win
The Chicago Blackhawks shifted from flat to frenzied, then tied the Stanley Cup finals with a hard-fought overtime win over the Boston Bruins in a free-flowing Game 4.
Brent Seabrook's goal 9:51 into OT ended a wild Wednesday night of offense and short-lived leads, sending the Blackhawks back home to Chicago for Game 5 on Saturday all even instead of trailing 3-1.
It was a decided turnaround for Chicago after a listless performance Monday in a 2-0 loss that put the Bruins up 2-1 in the series.
"We definitely worked really hard at creating the chances that we did," said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, who had gone 10 games without a goal before he scored early in the second to put Chicago up 2-1. "The chances that we got, the goals that we scored, weren't turnover plays by them or just lucky bounces by us. They were goals that we were moving the puck around, we shot it, we got rebounds, we recovered the puck, we kept it moving around and finally scored a goal."
In short, whatever the Blackhawks were lacking in Game 3 was plentiful Wednesday.
The Blackhawks had six shots on goalie Tuukka Rask before the Bruins had any. Chicago also outhit the Bruins early and pounced on loose pucks when Rask left himself vulnerable by failing to control rebounds.
Rask had allowed just seven goals in seven games before the Blackhawks beat him six times on Wednesday. Although the Bruins rallied to tie it three times, the Blackhawks never trailed.
"It's exciting. Everybody worked so hard tonight. Everybody's worked so hard through the playoffs," Seabrook said. "We're all contributing. It doesn't matter if I score or anybody else scores, it's nice to get the win and move on to the next day."
The Blackhawks outshot the Bruins 47-33 and scored a power-play goal for the first time in the series, ending an 0-for-29 drought that started in the Western Conference finals against Los Angeles.
Chicago had just five goals in the series entering Game 4, and the teams had combined for just 12 before striking for 11 on Wednesday.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, and Corey Crawford finished with 28 saves. Crawford certainly has played better, but he was backed by enough offense this time to overcome his mistakes.
All five of Boston's goals beat Crawford to the glove side, which the Bruins tested one final time in OT on a snap shot by Rich Peverley.
Peverley had scored against Crawford with a wrist shot in the first period to tie it 1-1.
Crawford juggled the puck slightly, but held on to it and forced a faceoff 9:32 into overtime.
"Corey has been great for us all year, all playoffs. He just moves forward," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Commend him. We got the win. You know, he'll be fine."
Just 19 seconds after stopping Peverley, Crawford was darting out of his crease to join his teammates as they piled on Seabrook after his slap shot from the right point got past Rask and hit the net inside the far post for the winner.
Rask faced only 28 shots Monday in Boston's shutout as the Bruins controlled play in all three periods. The Blackhawks established early in Game 4 that they had no intention of a repeat subpar performance, dominating the first seven minutes.
Chicago hit first and then hit back in every post-whistle scrum, and there were plenty of those as the Original Six clubs fought through regulation and into overtime for the third time in four games.
Chicago's win guarantees the series will return to Boston for Game 6 on Monday, when one of the teams will be one win away from claiming the Stanley Cup.