BOSTON – While the end result was a wickedly entertaining 6-5 overtime loss in Game 4 that sends the Bruins back to Chicago in a best-of-seven series tied 2-2, there were clearly a couple of bright spots for the Black and Gold.
First of all, it’s taken overtime to hand the Bruins all of their playoff losses dating back to the first-round series against the Maple Leafs, and there has to be some credit given to Boston for fighting back in the third period after they fell behind by two goals.
“It’s one of those games that was very up-and-down. We had some breakdowns that we need to adjust, but we did some good things to come back in the game also,” said Patrice Bergeron, who scored a pair of goals in defeat. “You got to look at both sides, but at the end of the day we didn’t get the result. We’ve got to make sure we’re back at it on Saturday [in Game 5].”
Perhaps the most comforting thing that the Bruins can hang their hat on: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford struggled in a major way during the narrow overtime victory for the Hawks. The Bruins targeted Crawford on the glove hand side, and scored three different goals in Game 4 that were specifically aimed at the glove side of the Blackhawks goalie.
Crawford never even reacted to Rich Peverley’s first-period goal from the slot, and was easily beaten pad-high to the glove side. Bergeron’s game-tying goal in the third period was a rocket one-timer off a nice pass from Jaromir Jagr, and Crawford similarly whiffed at the puck with his tardy glove hand.
The final goal from the Bruins was a Johnny Boychuk rocket under the crossbar that many goaltenders would have been hard-pressed to stop, but it reinforced the notion Boston was onto something by aiming glove-side high throughout the series.
“Well, 99 percent of their shots are going glove side, so I don’t know what you would say. I can’t start thinking about that,” said Crawford, who allowed five goals on 33 shots. “That’s when you get in trouble when you start thinking everything is going to go glove. I’m just going to play the way I’ve been playing and stick with that.”
There’s no doubt Crawford will stick with a philosophy that’s allowed him to post a 1.83 goals against average and a .931 save percentage throughout the playoffs, but the Bruins are also the best offensive team that the Hawks have faced during the postseason thus far. They’ve found a flaw in Crawford’s game, and Game 4 just provided more evidence that attacking his glove side is in their best interest.