BOSTON -- The Blackhawks made it clear before things even began Wednesday night: They HAD to win Game 4 if they were to have any hope of winning the Stanley Cup.
And so they did. Just not the way they drew it up.
In a wild, wide-open, firewagon game that neither team preferred, Brent Seabrook slapped one low-left past Tuukka Rask from the right point at 9:51 of overtime, giving the Blackhawks a 6-5 victory that ties the Stanley Cup Finals at 2-2. The teams now head to Game 5 in Chicago on Saturday night, then back to Boston for Game 6 on Monday.
The first period gave no indication of the craziness to come. Chicago took a 1-0 lead nearly seven minutes into the game when Michal Handzus finished a shorthanded 2-on-1 with Brandon Saad after Saad had stolen the puck from Tyler Seguin at the other end of the ice. But the Bruins tied it when Rich Peverley snapped one past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford from the high slot with 5:17 left in the period, and three seconds left on a Bruins' power play.
And then, in the second period, two teams that had been putting on defensive clinics for most of the playoffs suddenly forgot the meaning of the word "defense".
-- Jonathan Toews scored the first of the five second-period goals when he put the Blackhawks up, 2-1, with a re-direction on a Michal Rozsival shot from the point at the 6 1/2-minute mark.
-- Patrick Kane gave the Blackhawks their first two-goal lead of the series midway through the period, as he put home an easy rebound at the right post after Tuukka Rask made two quick stops. Kane was left wide open at the right post and put Chicago ahead 3-1.
-- The Bruins cut Chicago's lead to 3-2 when Milan Lucic put home a Zdeno Chara rebound out front after the Blackhawks failed to get it out of the zone on a pass up the boards. Chara stepped up to the half wall and just threw it on goal, and Lucic was there to make it a one-goal game.
-- But with 4:28 left in the second, Marcus Kruger scored and put the Blackhawks up 4-2. Kruger finished off a 2-on-1 at the right post after getting his own rebound on a shot that Rask initially saved with his left pad.
-- Then Bergeron finished a favorable bounce from a Chara shot from the point that hit Crawford's left shoulder, bounced off the glass, bounced back off the top of the net, and dropped in front of Crawford, where Bergeron put it home for a power-play goal at 17:22 to cut Chicago's lead to 4-3.
-- The Bruins nearly tied the game at with 30 seconds left, but Chris Kelly's golden opportunity out front hit the left post. It would have finished off a perfect tic-tac-toe series of passes by Seguin and Peverley, which set Kelly up out front with an open net. The goal seemed like such a lock that as it hit the post, even the TD Garden goal horn sounded.
But the horn sounded for real early in the third period, as Bergeron buried a shot, glove side, from the right circle at 2:05 of the third period, tying the game at 4-4. He and Jaromir Jagr dominated possession of the puck in the corner and Jagr eventually sent it out to Bergeron in the circle, who scored his second goal of the game.
After such a wild two periods, it was only fitting that the teams trade goals within a minute of each other before heading to o.t. With 8:41 left in the third, Patrick Sharp gave Chicago a 5-4 lead as he scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal by finishing a Marian Hossa rebound at the left post. But the Bruins answered again, a minute later, as Johnny Boychuk blasted a slapper past Crawford, glove side, tying the game at 5-5 and sending it into overtime.