BOSTON — The goal-horn operator at TD Garden Wednesday night prematurely sounded his alarm in the second period of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The puck had skidded wide, but who could blame him? The Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks were putting on a show.
A five-goal second period highlighted a back-and-forth thriller, which the Blackhawks eventually won, 6-5, on defenseman Brent Seabrook’s slapper from the point 9:51 into OT off assists from Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane to tie the series at two games apiece.
Seabrook has now been dubbed “Mr. Overtime” by teammate Patrick Sharp, since he also scored in OT in Game 7 of the second round against Detroit.
“We’re all contributing,” Seabrook said. “It doesn’t matter if I score or anybody else scores. It’s nice to get the win and move on to the next day.”
Zdeno Chara (l.) celebrates Milan Lucic’s goal that cut the deficit to 3-2.
“What a game. What a series it’s shaping up to be,” Sharp said. “I think we knew at the start it was going to be close like that. We got tight-checking games, and today it was a little bit more wide-open. It was really fun to be a part of. A lot of trash-talking, a lot of bad blood, some big hits, and that’s some fun playoff hockey out there.”
It was only the second 6-5 OT game in Finals history, the other being the Islanders’ Game 1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in 1982. So far this has been quite a series, beginning with the fifth-longest game in Finals history, a 4-3 3OT Blackhawks win in Chicago in Game 1.
The non-goal that set off the horn came from Bruins forward Chris Kelly in the final minutes of the second period, pushing a Rich Peverley pass off the outside of the post, leaving Boston behind, 4-3, going into the third period. The Bruins would tie it, 4-4, early in an electric third, however, on Patrice Bergeron’s second goal of the game, his back-to-back tallies bringing Boston back from a 4-2 deficit.
Sharp’s ninth goal of the playoffs — tied for the league lead with the Bruins’ David Krejci — made it 5-4 with 8:41 remaining in regulation and snapped an 0-for-23 Chicago power play slump.
Chicago’s Jonathan Toews celebrates his second-period goal — his first in 11 games.
“That’s how our team is built,” Sharp said. “We’ve got four lines that can score, we’ve got four lines that can skate, we’ve got a mobile defense. We’re not saying we want to open the floodgates and create chances, but I think when we play that attack game and that confident style offensively, we can be a successful team.
Bruins coach Claude Julien credited his team for its comeback but said his players made bad decisions and that his forwards “were not totally committed” to helping Boston’s defensemen when they pinched. That included Bergeron, a former Selke winner as the league’s top defensive forward, who was trailing the play on two Chicago goals and on the ice for three.
Still, just when it seemed the Bruins had thrown all they could at Chicago to no avail, Boston defenseman Andrew Ference and forwards Krejci and Nathan Horton imposed their will along the boards and found defenseman Johnny Boychuk for a point blast by Corey Crawford (28 saves) with 7:46 left in regulation to send the game to overtime.
A comparatively tame first period saw goals by the Blackhawks’ Michal Handzus and Peverley.
Chicago held a 3-1 lead with 11:19 left in the second on goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Bruins winger Milan Lucic made it 3-2 with 5:17 remaining in the second on a rebound off a shot from the point by Zdeno Chara (two assists). Forty-nine seconds later, Marcus Kruger scored what seemed like a crusher off the rush to increase the Chicago lead to 4-2. But then Boston drew within 4-3 less than two minutes later, when a Chara shot hit the back boards, bounced on top of Chicago’s net and in front for Bergeron to bury home.