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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Blackhawks Win A Wild Game 4, 6-5 In OT To Even Stanley Cup Final At 2

The Blackhawks proved that like the Bruins, they have the ability to bounce back from crushing losses and that's what makes this series an instant classic. For the third time in the first four games, it took overtime to settle things. Chicago ended up outlasting Boston 6-5 in overtime tonight at TD Garden. Brent Seabrook's game-winner gave the Blackhawks a split in Boston (mirroring the split the Bruins earned in Chicago). Now it becomes a best-of-3 with Game 5 on Saturday (8, NBC) at the United Center.

It's hard to believe since they scored five goals but the B's never actually led in this absurd affair. The Blackhawks blew leads of 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4 but that will be forgotten because they picked up their second overtime victory of the series. On the bright side for Boston, similar to Game 1 they get an extra day of rest heading into Game 5 which served them well before.

This was an NHL game straight out of the 1980s with tons of goals and little resistance from the respective defenses and goaltenders. There were four special teams goals as Chicago scored a power play goal and a shortanded goal while Boston potted two power play strikes.

Michal Handzus converted a turnover and 2-on-1 from Brandon Saad 6:48 into regulation. That was just the start the Blackhawks needed after they were shut out in Game 3 (2-0).

Rich Peverley began the barrage on Corey Crawford's (28 saves) weak glove hand with a power play goal at 14:43 of the first period. His second of the postseason was assisted by Andrew Ference and it was Boston's third power play goal of the series.

Chicago continued to use their speed and skill, beating Tuukka Rask (41 saves) twice more early in the second period. Captain Jonathan Toews finally did something, tipping in Michal Rozsival's shot from the point at 6:33. Patrick Kane scored on a rebound at 8:31, prompting Bruins head coach Claude Julien to use his timeout to settle his team down.

Milan Lucic answered with a backhander off a rebound at 14:43, his sixth goal of the playoffs was assisted by Zdeno Chara. Chicago's third line responded with a goal 49 seconds later and Marcus Kruger got past Rask then jammed it home from the side of the net. The B's refused to go away as Patrice Bergeron cut it to 4-3 with a fluky power play goal at 17:22. Bergeron's eighth of the postseason was the result of the puck bouncing off the glass then the top of the net, Zdeno Chara and Jaromir Jagr got the assists.

Jagr and Bergeron teamed up once again at 2:05 in third period to tie it at four. Jagr controlled the puck behind Chicago's net for a while before finding Bergeron out front where he went glove side.

Chicago snapped its 0 for 14 slump on the power play as Patrick Sharp scored on yet another rebound. The Blackhawks had a two-man advantage for 22 seconds, Jagr's penalty was up but they scored with David Krejci still in the box.

The Bruins did their best Blackhawks impression as they tied it 55 seconds later on Johnny Boychuk's blast from the point, you know where it went by Crawford. Boychuk's sixth goal of the playoffs was assisted by Nathan Horton and Krejci.

Boston had some wonderful chances in overtime: Brad Marchand and Bergeron both shot wide while Rask made a glove save on Kane and Adam McQuaid blocked a shot. Seabrook's goal came on a rather innocent play as the Bruins had a couple chances to either take control of the puck or clear it but they couldn't do it. His shot from the point was low and hard plus Rask might have been screened a bit.

The Bruins shook off a triple overtime loss in Game 1 so this loss hopefully won't rattle them too much. My wish is that they don't reflect on this lost opportunity to really take control of the series and put all the pressure on the Blackhawks.

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