In the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Chicago Blackhawks had only scored a total of five goals, and it was evident something needed to change.
"Tonight I thought we made it rather easy on him [Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask] as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after his team lost Game 3. "I think we've got to be better at going to the net in non-puck areas."
On Wednesday night, his team got the message.
Chicago erupted for six goals — including one each for the Blackhawks' maligned stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — and was able to withstand multiple comebacks by Boston to even the series at two with a 6-5 overtime victory, courtesy of a slapshot by Brent Seabrook 9:51 minutes into overtime.
It's the third overtime this series, which is tied for the second-most ever for a Stanley Cup Finals.
"We got a few bounces. It was nice to get a few past Tuukka," Seabrook told NBC's Pierre McGuire.
It was more than nice for the Blackhawks, who hadn't scored in more than 129 minutes. Rask's shutout streak was a Bruins playoff record.
Chicago, which opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal by Michal Handzus, had three different leads, including two two-goal cushions.
But Boston, used to coming back in dramatic fashion, did just that.
Power forward Milan Lucic got the Bruins within 3-2 at the 14:43 mark of the second with a backhand past Blackhawk goalie Corey Crawford, only to be answered 51 seconds later by Chicago's Marcus Kruger to put the Hawks back up by two.
But Boston wasn't done. Two goals by Patrice Bergeron tied the game at four before Patrick Sharp and Johnny Boychuck exchanged goals late in the third period to force overtime, where Seabrook's shot rocketed by Rask and caused a stream of white jerseys to flood the ice.
"Seabs [Seabrook] has done it tons of times for us in overtime, and not just in these playoffs," Sharp told John Forslund of the NHL Network. "He's always chipping in with an assist or big goal. When he made the play at the blue line, a lot of us knew it was going to find a way in."
A relief for Chicago was the strong play of Toews and Kane, who were matched up on a line for the first time this series. They each scored a goal and were able to get chances on net they hadn't been able to earlier in the series.
"I'm sure they [Kane and Toews] are excited about returning together," Quenneville told reporters after the game.
When asked why he didn't pair them together earlier, he quipped, "Maybe I didn't know what I was doing."
Boston, which looked poised to take control of the series after dominating Game 3, now has to win at least one more road game in order to capture the Cup. The Bruins certainly are capable, having won six road contests so far in the playoffs.
"Our guys battled hard enough to create an overtime," Bruins coach Claude Julien told reporters. "I don't think we played our best game tonight. Our decision-making wasn't very good at times, and I don't think we were moving the puck as well as we had been in the past. It was certainly a tough outing for us tonight."
Rask gave up the most goals in a game he has all postseason, and Boston only won one more face-off than Chicago after beating the Blackhawks by 24 last game.
Marian Hossa returned to the lineup after missing Game 3 with an upper-body injury, and didn't show any signs of being hurt.
"We weren't happy with the way things turned out in Game 3," Sharp said. "Never once did we doubt the heart of our team. It was a big win tonight."
Michael Smith is an intern in the news section of DeseretNews.com. A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in the fall.
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