By Sidney Brown, WARR contributor
Another overtime classic produced another Hawks victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals series, now a series that is completely up in the air again after the Hawks’ 5-4 win Wednesday night.
This classic battle carried into overtime making it the third overtime contest in this series. As OT began, both teams traded scoring chances early but nothing came about. The Bruins side seemed to lack the renewed jump that the Hawks showed in their play heading to the heart of the extra period and that came to light as defenseman Brent Seabrook ended this affair with his third goal of the playoffs (9:51) giving the Hawks a much needed road victory.
This crucial game began with the Hawks playing with a sense of urgency and desperation, qualities they needed much more than the Bruins. The penalty kill unit for the Hawks created a turnover and the game’s first goal by Michal Handzus at 6:48 in the 1st period, with Chicago short handed on top of that. That opening goal by Chicago also ended a scoreless streak of 129:14. The Bruins responded towards the end of the 1st as Rich Peverley netted his second goal of the playoffs (14:43) on the power play tying the score at 1-1.
As the second period began, the superstars from the Hawks would be heard from as captain Jonathan Toews (6:33) and Patrick Kane (8:41) netted back to back goals, increasing their lead to 3-1. Falling further behind, Boston started to pressure the Hawks on offense and it paid off with Milan Lucic netting home his sixth goal of the playoffs at 14:43 to cut the lead to 3-2. This back and forth scoring frenzy continued as Hawks fourth-liner Marcus Kruger delivered his third goal of the playoffs at 15:32, giving the road team a 4-2 lead.
Boston responded again with one more 2nd period score as Patrice Bergeron came through on the power play (17:22), the home team pulling to within 4-3 heading to the third period. Bergeron tallied his second goal of the game early in the third (2:05) to tie things up. Sharp struck for the Hawks midway through the 3rd, scoring his tenth goal of the playoffs at 11:19 to regain the lead. Playing out the you rally-I rally section of the game, Boston responded one more time as defenseman Johnny Boychuk scored his sixth goal of the playoffs off a 100 mile per hour slap shot, tying score at 5-5 and eventually assuring more free hockey for this series.
Both goalies had terrible games, each struggling to gain control for their teams. Corey Crawford gave up four of his five goals from his glove side, which Boston rightfully took advantage of. For the game, Crawford collected 28 saves and compiled a save percentage of .848%. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask looked bothered by traffic created in front of him and bodies around the net.
The Hawks got back to what made them successful on offense by scoring dirty goals in front of the crease. Rask would tally 41 saves off 47 shots with a .872% save percentage. The Hawks dominated the shots on goal category by 14 to power their effort (47-33). For the second time this playoffs the Hawks literally saved their behinds, first, it was Game 7 versus Detroit and now Game 4 against Boston.
Brent Seabrook has a flare for the dramatic, and for his OT game winner, he gets my Game Puck for Game 4.
Game 5 is Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago at 7 pm on NBC.
First, to the Hawks power play unit for going 1-4 with their man advantage. This production MUST continue if Chicago is going to hoist the Cup.
Second, to the Bruins power play unit for going 2-5 on their man advantage. In order to stay in this series, the Bruins must pressure the Hawks’ PK unit, which has been the best in the NHL in the playoffs to this point.
Third, to Hawks goal scorers Marian Hossa — who returned from injury — and Bryan Bickell, the two combined for three assists Wednesday. Also Bruins superstars Zdeno Chara and Jaromir Jagr, who combined for four assists in Game 4, should also be commended.
Last but not least, to the Hawks improving their road record to 4-5 in this year’s playoffs.
First, the Hawks penalty kill unit allowed two power play goals in the same game. This is the first time that has happened in this year’s playoffs. This unit must get back on track in order to win this series.
Second, the Bruins penalty kill unit allowed a power play goal to the Hawks for the first time in this series.
Third, Bruins young star Tyler Seguin tallyed one shot on goal and no points in Game 4.
Last but not least, the Bruins home playoff winning streak ended at seven games.
With this best of seven series tied at 2-2, it’s now a best two out of three series with two games left in Chicago.
Who will get those two games first? Essentially, that is the only question left that matters, but there are some others: Will the Bruins regain their defensive style? Will the resurgence of the Hawks power play continue? Will Tuukka Rask regain his confidence? Will Corey Crawford stand tall in front of the home crowd? And will the Hawks keep the proper momentum knowing that they’re a step closer to their ultimate goal?
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