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The real three stars from Game 4
Wednesday’s Game 4 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins was one of the most exciting, high-scoring hockey affairs you’ll ever see.
The Blackhawks came out on top in overtime, 6-5, but none of the 10 different players who scored in the game made my list of three stars. That being said, this isn’t exactly your typical three stars list. (Here’s Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3 in case you forgot.)
So who did make the cut? See for yourself:
FIRST STAR: Offense! Finally!
Great googly moogly! After three games that delivered a total of 12 goals, the Bruins and Blackhawks combined for 11 goals in Wednesday night’s 6-5 Chicago win. A different player scored each of the Blackhawks’ six goals, and four different players scored for the Bruins, with Patrice Bergeron the only skater to put more than one puck in the net in the game.
The goaltenders, who were previously impenetrable in this series, were finally human on Wednesday, with Boston’s Tuukka Rask stopping 41 of 47 shots and Chicago’s Corey Crawford getting in between 28 of the 33 shots he faced.
In the defeat, the Bruins became the first team to score five goals in a Stanley Cup Finals game and lose since 2010 — when Philadelphia lost 6-5 (there's that score again) to Chicago (there's that team again) in Game 1.
To find another instance of that kind of offensive output in a Cup Finals loss, you'd have to go back to 1992, when Chicago (there's that team a third time) lost 6-5 (there’s that score a third time) to Pittsburgh in Game 4 of a Penguins sweep.
To see all of the goals from Wednesday’s high-scoring affair, you can check out our live blog from the game. But to hold you over for now, here’s the last one — Brent Seabrook’s game-winner in overtime:
SECOND STAR: Really, really poor timing
If you happened to be watching Wednesday’s game on KXAN in Austin, Texas, I apologize, because you missed the game-winning goal in overtime that we embedded above.
Instead, you were watching a promo for your local news and a commercial for a local Kia dealership:
It’s not especially unusual for mistakes like these to happen with local affiliates — and this certainly wasn't the Heidi Game — but cutting from the game-winner in a 6-5 overtime game in the Stanley Cup Finals is certainly up there, and I’m sure KXAN fielded more than a couple calls in the aftermath of the blunder.
The worst part of all, though, might have been the station's apology, which, almost fittingly, came after a news package about the growing interest in hockey in Texas:
THIRD STAR: Mario Kart
So, Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell is writing a player blog for NHL.com during the Stanley Cup Finals, and in Tuesday’s entry, Bickell revealed that about a dozen members of the team enjoy playing Mario Kart (below, for the uninitiated) while on the road to help the team refocus.
"I'd say there are three No. 1s with myself, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook," Bickell wrote. "Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews are probably tied for No. 2, but it falls off pretty badly from there.
"Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw play and aren't terrible, but we have guys like Nick Leddy, Brandon Bollig, Viktor Stalberg, Michal Rozsival and Ryan Stanton all struggling. Stanton is a new victim in the Mario Kart world."
Now I’m not saying there’s a tie between Mario Kart success and on-ice success, but after their latest round of Mario Kart, the Blackhawks went into Boston and snapped a seven-game home win streak for the Bruins, while avoiding falling into a 3-1 series hole.
Then consider that both of the team’s “No. 2’s” in the game scored Wednesday, and that two of the team’s “No. 1” Mario Kart players — Bickell and Seabrook — combined for the overtime game-winning goal . . . and it’s got to be more than a coincidence.
I know Mario Kart is just a road tradition, but if I were the ‘Hawks, I might think about firing up the Wii before Saturday’s Game 5 at home.