Netminding Decides Game 4, Results in a Tied Series

All you can do is worry about yourself and your own preparation. All we can do is control what we can control and that’s us.“-Andrew Ference pre-game

That was the mentality of Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference prior to the start of Game 4 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Unfortunately, the Bruins played catch-up the entire game and ended up at the short-end of the stick as Chciago got the final go-ahead goal in overtime for a 6-5 final and 2-2 series tie.

Patrice Bergeron and J. Toews take the face off (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

Patrice Bergeron and J. Toews take the face off (Photo Credit: Steph Phillips)

The first period of Game 4 proved to be a mirrored image of Game 2 for Boston in the sense that the Chicago Blackhawks came out with fire under their skates as they contained the Bruins to no shots on goal through the first 7 minutes of the frame. As Johnny Oduya found himself in the ox for an interference call on Tyler Seguin, the Bruins attempted to get the momentum swinging in their favor. As Seguin battled along the boards for the puck Brandon Saad got the upper hand and raced towards Rask. As he neared closer he handed the puck off to Michael Handzus who placed the puck perfectly behind Rask for a 1-0 Chicago lead. The goal comes as Chicago’s first shorthanded goal of the series against the Bruins. Immediately following the goal from the ‘Hawks, Torey Krug wound up and blasted a shot at Crawford that careened off of a defenseman’s skate and Krejci was unable to bank the rebound in. The shot came as one of the best opportunities of the opening frame from Boston.

In the final half of the period, the Bruins found themselves on the powerplay once again, this time ready to generate the offense. Torey Krug managed to post three shots on net, one ringing off the post sparking enough energy into Boston to get the ball rolling. As the puck dropped for the next face off, the ‘Hawks attempted to clear the puck out, but Andrew Ference kept the puck in and managed to get it across ice to Rich Peverley. Peverley threw the puck out in front and froze Corey Crawford, beating him glove side before he knew what happened, tying the game at 1. The goal was exactly what Boston needed to wake up as the energy level rose and they littered Crawford with shots. The first frame ended with a score deadlocked at 1 and the shots in favor of Chicago 12-9.

To start the second period the Bruins came out roaring on the power play with Dennis Seidenberg and Torey Krug holding the blue line and keeping the shots on Crawford. Unfortunately, Crawford was prepared and kept his team in it, standing tall between the pipes. At the 6:33 mark of the second period Rozsival blasted a shot from outside the left circle that was re-directed by a low Toews to put the Blackhawks up 2-1 over Boston, providing them to play catch up once again. Wiping out his scoreless streak of the series along with captain Jonathan Toews was Patrick Kane as he was able to bank the second chance opportunity at 8:41 for a 3-1 Chicago lead.

As the clock neared the 5:00 mark, the Bruins played on, Zdeno Chara blasted a shot at Crawford and much like Toews goal, Milan Lucic was camped out in front for the second chance opportunity to cut the ‘Hawks lead to 1.  Unfortunately, the Bruins got caught celebrating a little too long and Kruger becomes the nightmare on Causeway as he was able to stay with the puck after Chara and Rask went sprawling and put it in the back of the net, reinstating the 2-goal lead. Goals came at 14:43 and 15:30 respectively. As Patrick Kane found himself in the box, the Bruins power play went to work once more. Zdeno Chara, once again, blasted a shot and it went off of the back boards and over the net. As it came down out in front of Crawford Patrice Bergeron got a piece of it and put it past the netminder, cutting the lead once more. For the final forty-five seconds the Bruins hammered Crawford with shots, the best chance coming from Chris Kelly who missed the net by no more than three inches on a rebound attempt sounding the goal horn as well. Through forty, the ‘Hawks were up 4-3 and leading the shot clock 25-19.

Bruins kept up the momentum like they needed to to begin the third period and as Jaromir Jagr and Patrice Bergeron worked the corners and won battles, good things came for the Bruins. As Jagr peeled back to get the puck to Bergeron, he released a quick shot and sniped the puck past Crawford to tie the game at 4 at the 2:05 marker of the third. Chicago dominated the play for the next seven minutes or so until Jonathan Toews found himself in the box for high-sticking on Nathan Horton. Unfortunately the power play didn’t last very long as Jaromir Jagr had his stick lifted and caught Duncan Keith in the mouth making it four-on-four hockey. Following that, Krejci found himself in the box for holding after a Lucic turnover allowing Kane an opportunity. As the ‘Hawks found themselves on an abbreviated 5-on-3, it was only a matter of when they would capitalize. The go-ahead came from Patrick Sharp putting the Blackhawks up by one once again. In continuance of the first two frames, the lead didn’t last long as Johnny Boychuk blasted a one-timer and beat Crawford tying the game at 5 at the 12:14 mark, less than a minute after the ‘Hawks goal. Despite some late surging from both sides, the game remained tied at five and required additional minutes.

A quick pace started off the overtime period as each team traded opportunities back and forth. Unfortunately, the ‘Hawks had the right opportunity at the right time as Brent Seabrook unleashed a bomb from the high point and tied the series 2-2.  Next game will be Saturday at 8:00pm ET in Chicago at the United Center.

 

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