Stanley Cup Finals: Blackhawks Tie Series On Seabrook’s OT Winner
Buckle yourselves in Bruins fans, we’ve got ourselves a series on our hands. I was really hoping the B’s would pull this one out tonight. A 3-1 series lead would have been huge for Boston, but unfortunately it was not to be. The Chicago Blackhawks came out with a furious energy right from the drop of the puck, and outworked the Bruins for long stretches of game four.
Michal Handzus got the scoring started early for the Hawks roughly 6 minutes in to the first period. Tyler Seguin lost the puck in his skates along the wall, and Chicago’s Brandon Saad took the puck from him. Saad raced up the ice on a 2-on-1 and slipped the puck to Handzus for the shorthanded goal. The shot beat Rask off the inside post. Shorties are always tough to give up, especially in big games.
The Bruins would make up for it though later in the period; Andrew Ference made a good play to keep the puck in the zone. He flipped the puck in to the slot, and Rich Peverley picked it up and fired it quickly past Corey Crawford to tie the game. It was nice to see Pevs get a goal as he has been nearly invisible throughout the entire playoff run.
The Hawks would strike quickly early in the second with 2 goals coming roughly 2 minutes apart from each other. Hawks captain Jonathan Toews got a way overdue goal, and did so by deflecting a Michal Rozsival shot by Rask. Chicago’s second goal was the result of a breakdown in the Bruins’ defensive zone which allowed Patrick Kane to pick up a rebound and backhand it past Rask. Boston’s defense struggled for great parts of this game at the hands of the Blackhawks’ speed.
The end of the second period saw a flurry of goals last night. Milan Lucic knocked in a rebound from Zdeno Chara to pull the Bruins to within one, bit the Hawks answered minutes later on another 2-on-1 which saw Marcus Kruger slip the puck past a sprawled out Rask. Boston then added a huge goal late in the third from Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron collected a crazy bounce off the glass that fell right onto his stick. This was a major momentum shift for the Bruins, and it finally seemed as if they were getting it together.
Boston carried the momentum into the third when Bergeron drifted into the right circle during a powerplay, and fired a Jaromir Jagr pass right by Crawford’s glove side to tie the game. The TD Garden was absolutely rocking after this one, and I have to say; I was pretty shocked at how the B’s were able to pull themselves out of such an abysmal first period.
Unfortunately the thrill was short lived. The Hawks received a 5-on-3 powerplay and capitalized in a big way when Patrick Sharp knocked it past Rask. The Hawks powerplay has been awful throughout the postseason, but with all the talent they have, I knew weren’t going to blow this opportunity. The Bruins would tie it up again late with a Johnny Boychuk “Johnny Rocket”, but in reality, this was Chicago’s game. Despite the Bruins best efforts, they fell short in overtime similar to the way game one ended, though without the deflection. Brent Seabrook beat Rask clean, and sent Hawks fans to bed on a happy note. To put it bluntly… it sucked.
I don’t think anyone should take any credit away from Chicago because they did play a hell of a game, but some of the Bruins that are heavily relied on were just awful in this one. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for 5 of the Hawks 6 goals, and finished the night with a -3 despite having 2 assists. Patrice Bergeron scored some big goals for the B’s, but finished the night with an uncharacteristic -2. Brad Marchand was invisible yet again in this one, and finished with a -3 rating. Dennis Seidenberg played lousy, and was directly responsible for 2 Hawks goals tonight. He finished with a -2. Tyler Seguin had a brutal turnover early in the game that led to the Blackhawks’ shorthanded goal which put the B’s down in early hole. Last, but not least… Tuukka Rask was pretty average last night. He only stopped 41 of 47 shots on goal. Rask had not given up 6 goals in a game all layoffs p until last night.
Despite these negative notes, and despite being a tough loss, there are still positives to take out of this one. For starters; the Bruins are nearly impossible it seems, to put away. Sure the Hawks have tied the series, but look at the ridiculous efforts they needed just to pull those games out. This series could possibly be over right now if a few bounces had gone Boston’s way instead of Chicago’s. The Bruins, despite being terrible throughout large portions of this game, still found a way to stay in it. Pretty encourage able if you ask me.
Another positive is the glove hand of Corey Crawford. The Bruins beat him for all 5 of their goals on his glove side, and it appears as if they have found a significant weakness to his game. I am unsure as to whether or not an injury is holding his glove hand back, or if he has always struggled with that part of his game. Regardless; the Bruins need to continue shooting on him there.
I don’t think home ice is as significant as others make it out to be. Sure it’s nice to have your fans cheering you on, but both of these teams have won road games. The Bruins got away from their game in a big way against the Hawks in game 4, and you can bet that they will get an earful from Coach Claude Julien during practice tomorrow. Taking a win in game 5 in Chicago won’t be easy, but I believe this Bruins team can do it. They really don’t have any other choice.
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