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Brent Seabrook’s OT goal gives Blackhawks win; series tied at 2

Updated: June 20, 2013 4:34PM



BOSTON — All that rigidly structured defense? Gone, both teams flailing as skaters zipped by on odd-man rush after odd-man rush. All that brilliant goaltending? Nowhere to be found, Corey Crawford’s glove hand abused by the Boston Bruins and Tuukka Rask’s cloak of invincibility shattered early and often. All that calm, cool poise? Unraveled, in a barrage of penalties, post-whistle scrums and pithy smack talk.

But all that tension? Still there. Just in a dizzying new fashion.

Brent Seabrook — “Mr. Overtime,” according to Patrick Sharp — scored his second career-defining goal in three weeks, beating Rask at 9:51 of overtime Wednesday night to give the Blackhawks a head-spinning 6-5 victory over Boston in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. The Hawks blew three leads, endured a rare off night by their stalwart goaltender, and withstood dagger after dagger by the never-say-die Bruins to pull out a memorable and monumental victory.

“It was entertaining hockey, it was a lot of fun to be a part of,” said Sharp, who nearly picked a fight or two. “Some talking going on between the two teams, finally, some scrums, big hits, a lot of clean hockey, a lot of good playoff hockey. It’s easy to say that when we got the win.”

Indeed, instead of trudging back to Chicago trailing 3-1 in the series, the Hawks evened things up at 2-2 — fitting, given how close the series has been, with three of four games going to overtime — and regained home-ice advantage. As long as they don’t lose at home, they can’t lose the Cup.

It wasn’t just that the Hawks pulled out a gritty, difficult win in a hostile environment just two days after a dismal, alarming effort in a 2-0 Game 3 loss. It’s how they did it. They did it with speed and with skill. They did it with aggression on offense. They did it by getting offense from their biggest stars. They did it with a power play goal. And they did it by making Rask and Zdeno Chara look downright human. Chara was on the ice for five of the Hawks’ goals, including the game-winner, as Jonathan Toews outmuscled Chara in the crease to create a brief screen for Rask.

After watching his team score just one goal in the last two games, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was looking for some offense, from anyone, from anywhere. He found it everywhere — from both teams, as the Hawks punched and the Bruins counterpunched over and over again.

“One of those nights,” Quenneville said. “Some pucks go in.”

It first appeared the Hawks had all the momentum after a strong start and a shorthanded goal by Michal Handzus. Then it appeared the Hawks had the game in hand as Quenneville’s nuclear option — the reunited duo of Toews and Patrick Kane — scored two minutes apart in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Then it appeared the Hawks had pulled out a harrowing win when Sharp scored their first power play goal of the series with 8:41 left in the third period.

But each time, Boston fought back and tied it, delivering dagger after dagger to the Hawks. There was Rich Peverley’s tying power-play goal in the first. There was Patrice Bergeron’s back-to-back goals late in the second and early in the third — one on a fluky bounce high off the glass that somehow landed in the crease for an easy smack-in. And there was Johnny Boychuk’s blistering shot just 55 seconds after Sharp’s go-ahead tally in the third to send the game to overtime.

“It was a fun game to play in,” Kane said. “But at the same time, you want to preserve those leads and play better when you do have them, especially late in the game.”

Added Toews: “We let them bounce back too quickly. When we get that momentum, we have to hold onto it a little longer.”

That holds true for the series now, too. The Hawks won Game 1, only to lose the next two. Now they have two days to sit on this win until Saturday’s Game 5 at the United Center. Win, and the Hawks will have two shots to win the Cup. Lose, and they’ll face back-to-back must-wins.

Considering how low they were on Monday night, and how close they came to the brink on Wednesday night, the Hawks couldn’t ask for much more.

“We knew we had to be better,” Dave Bolland said. “That we can’t lay down and let them stomp all over us. We knew we had to come out harder, that we had more in the tank.”

And, now, two more wins to go.



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