Down 2-1 in the series and facing a 3-1 hole, Chicago's offense woke up and won Game 4 in OT.
By: Scott LaCascia
The Boston Bruins were getting a tongue bath from every media outlet in the country going into Game 4 on Wednesday night. They were the better defensive team, the more experienced team, the more physical team, and they had the better goalie. While some of those things might still be true, the Bruins missed a golden opportunity to put a stranglehold on this 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The Chicago Blackhawks spent four days from the end of Game 2 to the beginning of Game 4 hearing about their flaws and lack of mental and physical toughness. Marian Hossa pulled himself out of Game 3 Monday night with an "upper body injury" which drew criticism, and Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews had yet to show up in the Final.
Before Game 4, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville put Kane and Toews on the same line for the first time this series and got immediate results. Chicago came out flying while the Bruins appeared sluggish. Brandon Sadd stole the puck from Tyler Seguin in the defensive zone and passed it to Michal Handzus who beat Rask to make it 1-0. The Bruins tied it on a Rich Peverley power play goal when defenceman Andrew Ference kept the puck in at the blue line, and Boston was lucky to be tied after one period with how poorly they played. Early in the second period, Toews dumped in a Michal Rozsival shot to put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1, and a few minutes later Chicago took their first two-goal lead of the series when Kane put in a rebound from Brian Bickell's shot that Rask saved, making it 3-1. The two teams were tied at 5-5 and heading to overtime for the third time in four games, with Marcus Kruger and Patrick Sharp scoring for Chicago and Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron (two), and Johnny Boychuck scoring for Boston.
In the overtime session, a slap shot from Brent Seabrook beat Rask at 9:51, and the Blackhawks beat the Bruins 6-5 to set up a critical Game 5 on Saturday night. This series has been everything that we expected it to be, and then some. Only one game of the first four has ended in regulation and in the last game it turned from a defensive series into an offensive shootout. Both teams are becoming familiar with one another and figuring out how to beat each other. Chicago dominated the neutral zone Wednesday which led to Boston turnovers and odd man rushes which gave the Bruins problems. The Bruins put pressure on Crawford late in the fourth game and shot at Crawford's glove side and had success, which the Bruins will try to exploit in Game 5. Whoever wins Saturday night will win the Stanley Cup. As good and as evenly matched as both teams are, if one of them is up 3-2 in the series with two chances to close it out, you would have to like that team's chances.