BOSTON — The Bruins had a chance to make Wednesday night their final home date of the season. With a victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, they would have gone up 3-1 on the Blackhawks and could clinch the coveted hardware Saturday night in Illinois.
BOSTON — The Bruins had a chance to make Wednesday night their final home date of the season.
With a victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, they would have gone up 3-1 on the Blackhawks and could clinch the coveted hardware Saturday night in Illinois.
Instead they got away from their style of hockey and put themselves in a best-of-three for the championship.
Brent Seabrook scored at 9:51 of overtime to give the Blackhawks a wild 6-5 victory and send them home in a 2-2 series.
The Bruins were left shaking their heads at a series of turnovers, bad decisions and missed assignments, plays they normally make and had excelled at in allowing one total goal in the two previous games.
"There were a lot of unforced errors," Johnny Boychuk said. "It hasn't been like this in a while."
Jonathan Toews scored on a rebound in the second period when Zdeno Chara fell down and left Boychuk to defend Toews and Bryan Bickell in front.
Just over two minutes later, Patrick Kane had a rebound goal of his own. Tuukka Rask — superhuman in his previous seven games with a 0.81 goals-against average, .973 save percentage and three shutouts — allowed a juicy rebound to the right side. Kane held, settled the puck and backhanded the shot past Rask.
After Milan Lucic scored to get it to 3-2, Marcus Kruger finished a 2-on-1 to push the Blackhawks' edge back to two goals. Dennis Seidenberg jumped out at a bad time and left defensive partner Chara out to dry.
"I don't think we played our best game tonight," coach Claude Julien said. "A lot of different reasons. I think our decision making wasn't very good at times. Didn't think we were moving the puck as well as we had been in the past."
In a 4-4 game in the third period, Milan Lucic coughed up the puck to Kane in the defensive zone. David Krejci was forced to hook Kane. It put Chicago on a 4-on-3 power play, and Patrick Sharp finished in tight for the lead.
The Bruins kept battling back. But they couldn't overcome miscue after miscue.
"I don't think we helped Tuukka tonight," Rich Peverley said. "Some goals, some breakdowns, we didn't make the plays. It's not Tuukka's fault."
Seabrook scored on a shot from the right point that deflected in front as Toews provided traffic. It gave Chicago six goals after they had five total in the first three games.
"We had some breaks around the net, found some loose pucks," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had way more traffic than the last game."
Less than two minutes after Kruger's goal, Patrice Bergeron completed one of the odder goals you'll see. On the power play, Chara blasted a slapper from the point that went above the crossbar. The puck bounced off the end boards and right back into the crease. Bergeron was none the wiser to finish.
It was the showstopper of a circus act type of game. There were three instances of multiple goals being scored within three minutes of each other, including three goals -- two Bruins scores bookending Kruger's goal -- in 2:39 in the second period.
"It's a rollercoaster a little bit, I guess," Seidenberg said. "You want to try to stay even-keel, but it's tough when there's so many ups and downs. We're back, we're trailing by two, we're even, we tied it up, and then we gave one up again, so it's a lot of mixed emotions."
Chicago took a 1-0 lead at 6:48 of the first period on a shorthanded goal when Tyler Seguin didn't protect the puck in the offensive zone as he neared the blue line. Brandon Saad took it from him, sprinted down the right side as Chara backchecked and passed to Michael Handzus for the score.
The Bruins didn't find their game until a scrum broke out after Peverley drove and drew a Duncan Keith tripping penalty. Peverley scored on the ensuing power play. Saad twice had chances to clear the puck in the final seconds of the penalty.
The Blackhawks reclaimed the lead early in the second period behind the remade line of Bickell, Toews and Kane. Those three played together at the end of the Western Conference finals and put the finishing touch of the Kings, Kane scoring four times in the last two games.
Toews and Kane's back-to-back goals made it 3-1, the Bruins' first multiple-goal deficit since Game 7 of the first round. The trio of Bickell, Toews and Kane combined for five points Wednesday after being silenced in the first three games.
"I like that line," Quenneville said. "Big picture getting reunited, they seem to have some chemistry. Scoring certainly helps."
Lucic tipped a Chara shot past Crawford at 14:43 of the second to make it a 3-2 game. But Kruger scored on a 2-on-1 49 seconds later to make it 4-2.
After Bergeron's end-boards goal, he scored again 2:05 into the third to tie it. After Sharp scored on the power play, Johnny Boychuk hammered in a slapper to tie the game with 7:46 left.
That sent the crazy Game 5 to extra time. But the Blackhawks got the victory to change the tenor of the series. The Bruins know they'll have one more home game now, and will need a steadier game to get the series back in their favor.
"I guess we didn't communicate enough," Bergeron said. "We know that's a good team, if you give them time I guess they can get some speed and attack on our defensemen with speed. We got to do a better job at that, look at videos and get back at it in Game 5."