Once again, Blackhawks prove skeptics wrong
- Photos (1)
Go ahead and doubt the Blackhawks.
And every time they will make you pay for giving up on them.
Looking dead and buried after Game 3, the Hawks bounced back once more in an epic and instant classic Stanley Cup Final contest, and just like that this appears to be a seven-game series again.
The Hawks played with desperation and pace from the start, survived a track meet in the second period, a stumble in the third and then defeated Boston 6-5 in overtime Wednesday night at TD Garden to tie the series at 2-2, as the teams head back to Chicago for Game 5 on Saturday night.
"We talked about if we win, we're back in it," said Michal Rozsival. "It's back to zero-zero. It's a best-of-three."
The Hawks didn't play scared this time and showed incredible heart in a building where the Bruins haven't lost since Bobby Orr was a child, and in the end it was a simple play that gave them a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Halfway through the first overtime, Brent Seabrook threw a puck at the net and, with Jonathan Toews creating traffic in front, the unpretentious shot beat Tuukka Rask and the Hawks suddenly had new life.
"We talked about all year about getting pucks to the net," Seabrook said. "I just got it on net and (Toews) set a great screen."
It was second overtime game-winner of the playoffs for Seabrook, who finished off a wild offensive effort — and a rough night for both goaltenders, in the third overtime contest of the four-game series.
"Both teams are so great defensively, and they're both great goaltenders," Seabrook said. "It was just one of those games."
The line of Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell was huge for the Hawks, who finally — finally — got some traffic in front of Rask and started throwing random shots at the net.
It's a very simple formula, but simple is how you win in the postseason.
"Everybody on that line brings a little something different to the party. It's a nice combination," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "Nice to see them back and nice to see them productive, too."
The Hawks' big line will have everyone wondering why the line hasn't been together all series, but Quenneville knows that putting that line together also limits his offense throughout the lineup and creates matchup deficiencies, which is probably why he was reluctant to do it.
Quenneville sees it as his nuclear option, but one he no longer has the luxury of waiting to fire.
"You always get second-guessed, but there's reasons why," Quenneville said. "I didn't like our offense in Game 3, so we went to the well. I'm sure they're excited about returning together — and made me look like I didn't know what I was doing."
The Hawks took a 3-1 lead in the second on goals from Toews and Kane, both a result of Rozsival throwing pucks at the net, the Hawks having Bickell in front annoying Rask, and players crashing the net and finding second and third chances.
It was also the first time the Bruins have trailed by 2 since Game 7 vs. Toronto on May 13, a span of 879 minutes.
It was 4-3 Hawks after two, but that lasted until only 2:05 of the third when a Johnny Oduya turnover allowed Jaromir Jagr to play catch with Patrice Bergeron until Bergeron fired a puck glove side on Crawford that he guessed would be shoulder high. It sailed under his glove, and the game was tied at 4-4.
"Games like this, it's gonna happen once in awhile," Crawford said. "Brush it off and get ready for next one."
On his eighth shot of the game, Patrick Sharp finally beat Rask to give the Hawks a 5-4 lead at 11:19 on the power play — yes, the power play — but Boston came right back again less than a minute later when Johnny Boychuk beat Crawford and it was 5-5.
"They come at you hard and they don't give up,"' Quenneville said. "But we did a lot of good things. Lot of positives and we feel good going forward."
They should. They played tough on the road, got in Zdeno Chara's face, scored a power-play goal, and their best players all got on the board.
It was the first time Kane and Toews scored in the same playoff game since 2010, and the line had 5 points. It's also the first time Rask allowed more than 4 goals since a 5-2 loss in Philadelphia on April 23, and the Hawks have to gain confidence believing now that Rask is not invincible.
"We got some bounces in a big game," Seabrook said. "It's nice to get a few past Tuukka."
So now the Hawks return to Chicago with home ice back in hand — and a renewed belief that they can win it all.
Perhaps even their harshest critics feel the same way.
•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.
- Share Facebook Twitter
Article sent to (required)E-mail
Article sent from (required)E-mail Name
Subject Line (article title)
Message (optional)Success - Article sent Click to close
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.
Contact information ( * required )Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *
Article InformationTitle URL
Message (optional)Success - Reprint request sent Click to close