[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a pivotal Game 4, Chicago came out and played their best game of the series, winning a run-and-gun Game 4, 6-5 in overtime. After the Blackhawks blew multiple two-goal leads Brent Seabrook got the game-winning goal to tie the series and give home ice advantage back to the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks came out the gates very hot, stringing together threatening shifts in every one of the first five minutes. The Bruins struggled to get clears due to the increased pressure of the Chicago forecheckers. The momentum would not be eliminated when Johnny Oduya was sent off for interference however, as the Blackhawks would open scoring with a shorthanded goal. Brandon Saad forced a Tyler Seguin turnover at the blue line and used his great speed to create a 2-on-1. As Zdeno Chara committed to Saad, the speedy winger chopped a cheeky pass to the Michal Handzus who beat Tuukka Rask off the glove-side post and in.
The Blackhawks aggressive pinching was largely beneficial in the first but it also forced Duncan Keith to take a penalty when the Bruins quickly turned out an odd-man rush late in the period. After struggling to get set up in the Chicago zone the Bruins would have a few good chances, none better than when Torey Krug rang the pipe on a nice drive from the point. Corey Crawford was heavily screened and never reacted before it hit the post. The Bruins would capitalize on a failed clear when Andrew Ference made a nice save at the blue line then fisted it back into traffic. Saad stumbled over the puck and Rich Peverley got the turnover in stride. With two Bruins at each end of the crease Crawford was non-committal and Peverley quickly wristed a shot past him before he even got set for the shot.
Following the goal the Bruins totally swung momentum. After giving up eight of the first nine shots the Bruins got eight of the next 13 shots to end the period. In a period that was split by Chicago and Boston dominance the Bruins dominance got a few more scoring chances and had the benefit of carrying itself into the second period.
The Bruins had a few good looks on their abbreviated power-play, the best being a Nathan Horton rebound opportunity on the goal-line that Crawford made a diving play with his stick to keep out of the net. After an early timeout, the Blackhawks calmed things down and killed the Bruins momentum. Chicago would retake the lead when a Michal Rozsival shot from the point was deflected by Jonathan Toews at the top of the crease, hoping past Rask’s outstretched pad and in.
Only a few shifts after Patrick Kane would score on a backhanded rebounder to give the Blackhawks an insurance goal. Michal Rozsival’s shot was blocked out front but couldn’t be secured by any Bruin out front. Kane snuck in from his position in the slot and corralled the puck and threw in a backhander past a diving Rask for the Blackhawks second goal in two minutes.
The Blackhawks would get another power-play when the Bruins were caught with too many men on the ice. With the Bruins primed for a meltdown, the penalty-kill stood tall and killed off the penalty. However, bad pinches kept being a major story as the Hawks had a few odd-man rushes nearly go in.
Milan Lucic would cut the lead in half when he scored a backhand goal off a Zdeno Chara rebound. Lucic started the play with a heavy forecheck behind the Chicago net. Zdeno Chara’s shot was stopped out front but nobody got a body on Milan Lucic who quickly flipped a backhander home.
The momentum was very short-lived as Marcus Kruger capitalized on another 2-on-1. Dennis Seidenberg lazily pinched in the offensive zone, leading to a 2-on-1 the other way. Zdeno Chara did a good job of using his body to cut down the passing lane and Tuukka Rask made the initial save with his pad but Kruger stopped his momentum at the goal line and lifted the puck into the empty net on the rebound.
The Bruins would get a power-play with 3:36 left in the second period, and being down two goals, they were desperate to cut the lead in half before the final break. The Bruins would get one of the stranger power-play goals in memory when a shot from the point was deflected high, bounced off glass, on the top of the net and into the crease. Patrice Bergeron was the only player to truly track the puck and capitalized when he put the puck past a helpless Crawford.
The weird second period would wrap up with a frenetic final minute. Boston had a handful of Grade A opportunities but none went in for the game-tying goal. The best opportunities came off the stick of Jaromir Jagr and Chris Kelly. Chris Kelly had an empty net but couldn’t direct the hard pass as well as he could have as it hit the outside of the post and went out.
Jaromir Jagr would get his due when a great shift along the boards allowed Patrice Bergeron to score his second goal of the game. Jagr and Bergeron had a grinding two-man cycle along the goal line before Jagr got the puck on his forehand and hit Patrice Bergeron at the dot. Bergeron caught and shot in one motion and beat Crawford glove side for the equalizer early in the period.
After some back-and-forth exciting play the Bruins would get a power-play with 11:09 left in the third period when Toews was sent off for high-sticking. The power-play would almost immediately be nullified when Jagr was sent off for high-sticking Duncan Keith. A lazy Milan Lucic pass would force the Bruins to take a penalty deep in their own zone, giving the Blackhawks an abbreviated power-play. The Blackhawks would make the Bruins play when Patrick Sharp banged home a Marian Hossa rebound just as the 5-on-3 penalty expired. The initial shot was stopped but the Bruins were overmanned down low and Sharp was left uncovered.
Johnny Boychuk would get the goal right back when the Bruins won a puck battle along the left boards. Nathan Horton got the puck and flipped to to Boychuk at the top of the blue line. Boychuk walked in a few steps before unleashing a hard shot that beat Crawford glove side.
Despite some exciting hockey to finish out the grame the teams would need extra time for the third time in four games to decide Game 4.
The Blackhawks would get the OT goal off a bad play by Dennis Seidenberg was ened by Brent Seabrook. The error led to a scrambling play in the Bruins zone, and with the Bruins still resetting Seabrook unleashed a nice hard low shot from the right point and got the benefit of a slight deflection to beat Rask over the right pad and below the blocker.
And now this Cup Final becomes a best of 3 series heading back to Chicago.