|Seabrook Wins It: Overtime hero Brent Seabrook is greeted by happy teammates after his goal squared the Original Six series 2-2.
Getty Images/Elise Amendola
When the puck came to Brent Seabrook, he shot and was rewarded driving the Blackhawks to a thrilling 6-5 overtime win over the Bruins in Game Four to even the series.
It was another barn burner between Original Six rivals. There isn’t much separating them. Through four games, Boston and Chicago are tied 2-2 with a best of three left to decide the Stanley Cup. Three of the four have gone to overtime. This is the first Stanley Cup Final since 1993 where there have been at least three OT games. It’s been some of the best hockey in a long time. A potential classic if it goes seven.
Game Four took on a life of its own. The teams combined for 11 goals. Nearly half came in a wide open second that had more twists and turns than a Sopranos episode. On the day James Gandolfini passed away, our favorite godfather would’ve been proud. The Hawks and Bruins put on quite a spectacle. It was fitting for a Broadway show. They took turns scoring and put us on our feet. Hockey fans rejoiced. Though it must’ve been hell for Chicago and Boston along with well respected coaches Joel Queeneville and Claude Julien.
‘‘It wasn’t a Bruins’ type of game, but at the same time you have to get yourself back into it,” Julien predictably stated. ”Our guys worked hard to score goals. Probably got ourselves out of what our normal game plan is. So we opened up and we scored goals, but we also gave them some goals, like the game-winning goal.”
”They keep coming,” Quenneville pointed out after watching his team blow leads of 2-0, 4-2 and 5-4 before pulling it out. ”One of those nights.”
The goal party started following a seesaw first period. Unlike Game Three when they were shutout by Tuukka Rask, the Hawks were sharper generating quality chances. They forced him to make tougher saves, leading to rebounds. A theme throughout. Michal Handzus provided a lift when he steered home rookie Brandon Saad’s feed for a shorthanded goal. Only the second the Bruins have allowed. They pressed for more but were turned away by Rask. Consecutive penalties led to Rich Peverley knotting it on the power play, catching Corey Crawford napping. He went high glove. Another theme.
Drawing momentum from Peverley’s goal, the Bruins carried the action until Jonathan Toews finally scored his second of the playoffs. The Chicago captain had been all but invisible. He kept a play alive and tipped in Michal Rozsival’s shot. Toews went to the net, beating Zdeno Chara in front. Chara and partner Dennis Seidenberg struggled. Even Patrice Bergeron was caught for a couple of goals against. The Hawks surged ahead by two thanks to Patrick Kane, who backhanded home a Bryan Bickell rebound for his first of the series. Rozsival set it up with a strong shot that Rask couldn’t control allowing Bickel to force another rebound. The ex-Ranger had a good game netting a pair of assists and plus-three.
But before they got too comfortable, the Hawks saw Milan Lucic get to a Chara rebound and steer in his own rebound past Crawford’s glove. Nobody took him. The wild second continued. Following a Crawford stop, Marcus Kruger finished off a pretty play from Michael Frolik and Dave Bolland to restore a two-goal lead 49 seconds later. But a Kane hooking minor allowed the Bruins to claw within one. Bergeron scored the first of two. This one was bizarre with a high Chara shot caroming off the back boards to Bergeron, who used a Brad Marchand screen to go glove side on Crawford. Just like that, five goals had been scored with the last three coming 2:39 apart. If not for a sprawling Crawford pad denial on Jaromir Jagr, he would’ve tied it before the buzzer.
Jagr remains stuck on no goals but continues to be a force. A throwback shift from No.68 resulted in Bergeron tying it at four 2:05 into the third. He used his strength along the wall to keep a puck alive. After out-muscling Johnny Oduya, he centered for Bergeron who beat Crawford high glove again. It was one he should’ve had. The Bruins executed the strategy to perfection. It was a great play by Jagr and Bergeron, who read off each other as if they’ve played together longer. With the game hanging in the balance, a Jagr hi-stick negated a Boston power play. David Krejci hooked down Kane to give Chicago a two-man advantage. It took a while for anything to materialize. Eventually after Jagr returned, Patrick Sharp deposited a Marian Hossa rebound for his 10th. Sharp’s goal celebration was one to behold. He was pumped up.
With the Hawks clinging to a 5-4 lead, the Bruins wouldn’t go away. Less than a minute later, strong work from Krejci and Nathan Horton resulted in Johnny Boychuk blowing one past Crawford. Like the groundhog who sees his shadow, it went to the glove side. After only scoring just once during the season, Boychuk’s notched six in the postseason. Things like that happen when you’re on a roll. Astonishingly, the final 7:46 remained scoreless sending it to sudden death.
Before the first stoppage so they could re-ice the rink, a pinching Seabrook got to a loose puck at the blueline and sent a slapper past Rask with Toews screening. The seeing eye shot went far side sending the Hawks into jubilation.
”One of the things we have talked about, get pucks to the net,” Seabrook explained after playing the hero. ”I just tried getting it on net, we had a great screen in front. … It just found a way.‘‘
”I guess it was just our turn to score again,” Kane expressed following his assist on Seabrook’s second OT winner. He also beat the Red Wings to advance the Blackhawks past the second round.”It was a fun game to play. … I’m sure the fans enjoyed that, for sure.”
One no one will soon forget.