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Hawks get even in Game 4 thriller
Patrick Sharp threw a fist pump so hard he landed on the ice.
“That was as happy as I’ve been to score a goal in all my career,” the Blackhawks left wing said of his third-period score Wednesday night — though the bigger celebration had to wait a little longer. . . until Brent Seabrook scored 9:51 into overtime to give Chicago a 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins to even the Stanley Cup Final at 2-2.
“I toe-picked a few times, screamed in (teammate Patrick Kane’s) face,’’ Sharp added.
And then . . .
“And then (the Bruins) scored right after it” to tie the game at 5-5.
That was the trend in a frantic Game 4 at TD Garden. The Blackhawks never trailed, but saw three leads — including a pair of two-goal leads — disappear before they finally ended matters on Seabrook’s slap shot past Tuukka Rask.
Game 5 is Sunday in Chicago.
This was the third game of the series to reach overtime, but that’s about where the similarities to the other, mostly low-scoring games of the series, end.
In the second period alone, the teams combined for five goals — or the same amount as were scored in Games 2 and 3 combined.
For the Blackhawks, there were even Jonathan Toews and Kane sightings. (Each scored their first goals of the Finals in the period.)
Both goalies looked average, thanks largely to some shoddy defense.
“The last couple days, Seabrook has been coming up to me, asking me what I'm thinking about,” Toews said.
"You know, I have to give him the right answer. I'm thinking about scoring a goal. He's been trying to help me out. You work hard (and) eventually you're going to find a way. Tonight was one of those games. We treated it as a Game 7. We weren't going to be denied.”
Added Kane: “It was a fun game to play. I'm sure the fans enjoyed that.”
The goalies? Maybe not so much. Rask saw his shutout streak end at 129 minutes, 14 seconds when Michal Handzus scored a short-handed goal in the first period. He finished with 41 saves on 47 shots.
"Yeah, I don’t think anybody expected that before the game, but they’re a good offensive team when you give them goals and they get the lead," Rask said. "Then, obviously, you have to start opening up too and creating some offense. That’s what happened. I think if you take something positive out of this, you’ve got to look at the fact that we scored five goals."
Chicago’s Corey Crawford was the less busy of the two netminders. He stopped 28 of 33 shots, which all seemed to be directed at the same location.
“Well, 99 percent of the shots are going glove side,” Crawford said. “I can’t start thinking about that. That’s when you get in trouble, when you start thinking everything is going to go glove. I’m just going to play the way I’ve been playing and stick with that.”
Game 4 also marked the return of a few wrinkles for Chicago: Forward Marian Hossa, Toews and Kane on the and the same line — and the team’s power play.
Hossa (upper body injury) was back in the lineup after missing Game 3, and played 19:07. He contributed an assist on Sharp’s goal with 8:41 left in regulation. It was the first power-play goal by the 'Hawks this series, and broke a scoreless slump with the extra man that had extended to 23 opportunities overall.
It also put the Blackhawks up 5-4. Fifty-five seconds later, the game was tied again after Johnny Boychuk ripped a slap shot to tie the game, where it remained the rest of regulation.
“We let them bounce back too quickly,” Toews said. “When we get that momentum, we
have to hold onto it a little bit longer. It was just a couple of defensive plays here and there. If we get in (the) shooting lanes, if we don't allow those shots from the point to come in, we can do a better job in front of Corey and help him out a little bit better.”
While Game 5 was a given, at least after Seabrook’s OT winner, Chicago won’t face elimination.
“It's definitely exciting to score in an overtime game,” Seabrook said. “But at the end of the day it's just a win, and we still need two more.”