June 19, 2013

Blackhawks win 6-5, OT thriller in Game 4 to tie series

By Jesse Connolly

Brent Seabrook (7) is all smiles after scoring the winning goal in overtime of Game 4. (Getty Images)

Final: Chicago 6, Boston 5 (OT)

Recap: With less than seven minutes gone in the first period, Tyler Seguin lost the puck in his own feet near the offensive blue line on a Boston power play, setting up a takeaway and the ensuing shorthanded strike by Michal Handzus, as Chicago took an early 1-0 lead. Boston got it right back on another man advantage roughly eight minutes later, when Brandon Saad stumbled skating the puck out of the zone and Rich Peverley capitalized with his first goal since Game 3 of the Toronto series. 

In the second, the 'Hawks struck twice in the span of 2:08, with Jon Toews redirecting his second goal of the playoffs past Tuukka Rask before Patrick Kane buried a rebound off an initial shot by Bryan Bickell. Boston cut the lead to one with 5:17 gone, as Milan Lucic backhanded a rebound off a Zdeno Chara shot past Corey Crawford.

Chicago responded with a goal 49 seconds later, as Dennis Seidenberg's poorly-timed pinch led to an odd-man rush and, following a nice save by Rask, Marcus Krueger found twine. Boston again made it a one-goal game on Patrice Bergeron's eighth goal -- the Bruins' second power-play strike of the evening.

In the third, Bergeron knotted things up 2:05 in, snapping home a feed from Jaromir Jagr. The Blackhawks regained the lead with less than nine minutes to go on Patrick Sharp's tenth of the playoffs, but a rocket from Johnny Boychuk made it 5-5 less than a minute later. Boston outscored Chicago 2-1 in the third, but the B's were outshot by a 2-to-1 margin (16-8) in the final 20 minutes of play.

The Blackhawks' sixth shot in the extra session found the back of the net, with defenseman Brent Seabrook ripping a shot from the point past Rask to give Chicago a series-tying victory.

Series: Boston and Chicago tied 2-2

Playoff Records: Boston 14-6; Chicago 14-7

Key Play of the Game: On the game-winner, Seidenberg made a misplay and allowed the puck to go through his legs/body as Chicago entered the zone. Kane's pass sailed through the slot and eventually the puck found its way to Seabrook at the center of the blue line. He skated away from Jagr to get open, aimed, fired, and that was all she wrote.

Connolly's Commendations: Kudos to Bergeron for coming up with two more big goals in these playoffs. His numbers at the dot weren't as eye-popping as they were in Game 3, but he did win 19-of-34, getting the best of the Blackhawks again. He went 8-3 on faceoffs in the third period.

After the third line came alive in the last two tilts, fourth-line pivot Rich Peverley finally ended his miserable scoring slump. The goal seemed to give him a huge confidence boost, as No. 49 was more visible in the offensive end than he's been in a long, long time.

Connolly's Critiques: Quite the miserable night for Tyler Seguin. The speedy winger had a gaffe that led to Handzus' shorty and, while he did make a few standout defensive plays, was back to firing high and wide, and making poor decisions/weak plays with the puck.

It's been eons since I can recall uttering these words, but Seidenberg had himself a really rough night at the office. From his costly pinch on Chicago's fourth goal to the OT winner, the German blueliner had a tough go of it from start to finish. Things didn't go all that much better for his partner in crime, Zdeno Chara, either.  

Notes: The 11 combined goals were the highest for a Bruins playoff game since Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2011, when the B's beat Tampa, 6-5. How's this for crazy: Boychuk, No. 55, tied the game at 5-5 precisely 55 seconds after Chicago scored to take a 5-4 lead. 

Final Thoughts: After a dominant, borderline surgical win over the 'Hawks in Game 3, the Bruins looked like a completely different team in this one. They were asleep at the wheel during certain stages, but then would respond by dominating the latter half of just about every period. Ultimately, their inconsistency and mistakes defensively doomed them. Instead of a 3-1 series lead, we're all tied up at two games apiece.

Next: The Bruins will head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks in Game 6 on Saturday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ
Email: jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com