Blackhawks even Stanley Cup finals

ASSOCIATED PRESS Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews lifts the puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask during the second period of Game 4. The game ended too late for this edition. Read Frank Seravalli's report on phillydailynews.com
ASSOCIATED PRESS Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews lifts the puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask during the second period of Game 4. The game ended too late for this edition. Read Frank Seravalli's report on phillydailynews.com
Posted: June 20, 2013

BOSTON - Eleven goals. Evaporating two-goal leads. Thunderous hits. One raucous arena, filled with frenzied black-and-gold-clad fans.

Even one goal scored from a rocketed ricochet off the glass behind the net.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think you were watching the Battle of Pennsylvania all over again - with the Flyers and Penguins trading tallies at will - instead of the defensive deadlock we've witnessed between the Bruins and Blackhawks.

The only difference was the stakes.

Charged by goals from stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Chicago shook off twice blowing a two-goal lead to take Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals last night, 6-5, in overtime.

Brent Seabrook's blast through traffic 9:51 into the extra session made sure the Stanley Cup will not need to be polished for an appearance on Saturday in Chicago now that the series is even, 2-2.

It was the exact shootout the Blackhawks had wanted to play, breaking free from Boston's defensive death grip. It marked just the third time Boston had allowed more than three goals since the playoffs began nearly 2 months ago.

"It was really a do-or-die game for us," said Chicago's Patrick Sharp, a former Flyer. "We've never doubted the character and heart in our room. It feels good. We talked about using our speed, attacking, trying to get inside and get to the net, resulting in more goals."

All but two Blackhawks forwards - Andrew Shaw and Viktor Stalberg - registered a point to shatter Boston's seven-game winning streak at TD Garden.

The teams now have played the second-most overtime games in one Stanley Cup final series, requiring at least one extra session for the third time in their first four games. These Original Six foes have played 75:47 of extra time in three overtime games, effectively making Saturday's Game 5 the sixth game of this series. And there's still the possibility of three more overtime games remaining.

With the heart-stopping win, the Blackhawks avoided going back to Chicago in a daunting, 3-to-1 hole.

For Chicago, facing a 2-1 hole in the series was daunting enough. The Blackhawks are 0-3 in franchise history when trailing 2-1 in the Stanley Cup finals, as they were heading into last night's video game-like Game 4.

Ex-Flyer Michal Handzus helped make sure the deficit didn't become 3-1. Handzus, who skated in Philadelphia from 2002-06, quieted the hungry Boston crowd by netting a nifty shorthanded goal in the first 7 minutes.

Toews and Kane, reunited on the same line together for the first time since Game 1, struck twice just 128 seconds apart in the second period to give the Hawks a two-goal edge.

It was the first time the Bruins had trailed by two goals in any game since May 13, when Toronto held a 4-1 lead with 10:43 to play in the third period of Game 7 of the first round.

The Eastern and Western conference heavyweights traded punches before Boston's Johnny Boychuk sent the game to overtime with a goal 12:14 into the third, forging a 5-5 tie less than a minute after Sharp had scored.

Sharp said the game reminded him of Game 1 against the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals: "Last goal wins," he said.

Chicago outlasted the Flyers, 6-5, that night.

"As long as we get one more than they do, that's what makes it fun," Sharp said. "It was entertaining hockey. There were scrums, big hits, finally some talking going on between these teams."


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Blog: ph.ly/FrequentFlyers

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