BOSTON — Brent Seabrook scored at 9:51 of overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins in a wild Stanley Cup final game Wednesday night.
Seabrook’s shot from the point through traffic that beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask gives the Blackhawks, who never trailed going into overtime, a new lease of life.
The teams are now tied at 2-2 heading into Saturday’s Game 5 in Chicago.
The Bruins threw everything they had at the visitors in mounting a furious comeback but came up short in the third game of the series to go to overtime.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he felt confident going into extra time, despite Boston’s fightback.
“I still thought in the third period we didn’t give up a ton even though it was a 5-5 game,” he said. “We still had some composure going into the overtime. I thought the bench was where it needed to be and (we) continued to move forward. But certainly they got the crowd (going) and we lost the momentum a couple of times. We had a nice lead, but they pressed. Their power play helped them tonight as well. But we did a lot of good things tonight.
“We’ll look at the positives and move forward.”
It was a crazy contest, crammed full of offence, momentum swings and bristling with more than a little bad blood. At times, it was like a violent all-star game.
Quenneville’s decision to reunite Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell paid dividends. Toews and Kane each scored for the Blackhawks, with Michal Handzus, Marcus Kruger and Patrick Sharp getting the Blackhawks’ other goals.
But the Bruins refused to keel over.
Patrice Bergeron scored twice and Rich Peverley, Milan Lucic and Johnny Boychuk added singles for Boston, which found itself behind the eight-ball all night. It was a roller-coaster ride for the crowd of 17,565 — the 164th straight full house at TD Garden — as the Bruins trailed 3-1 and 4-2.
Chicago outshot Boston 41-28 after regulation time and 47-33 overall.
“We opened up and scored goals. But we gave them some goals,” said Boston coach Claude Julien. “Our whole team was average tonight … They were better than we were.”
Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Chicago pulled ahead by outscoring the Bruins 3-2 in a frenetic second period that saw five goals in 10:49 and three in 2:39.
The five second-period goals matched the combined total of Games 2 and 3. And Chicago’s three-goal production for the period was one more than Pittsburgh managed to put past Tuukka Rask in four games. Trailing 4-3 to open the third period, Bergeron pulled the Bruins even at 2:05 with a wrist shot on the glove side that Corey Crawford might want back. Jaromir Jagr, in his 200th NHL playoff game, drew the assist on Bergeron’s ninth goal of the post-season after some dogged possession in the Chicago end.
The Bruins are no strangers to comeback. Boston trailed 4-1 with 11 minutes to go in Game 7 against Toronto in the first round, only to make history by winning 5-4 in OT to become the first NHL team to win a Game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.
Sharp put Chicago ahead 5-4 on the power play at 11:19 just six seconds after Boston survived a brief two-man disadvantage. Sharp stuffed the puck in from close range with Jagr trying to race back in the play from the penalty box, which still had David Krejci in it.
Boston remarkably answered back with Boychuk’s slapshot just 55 seconds later knotting the score at 5-5 before Seabrook ended it in overtime with his third of the playoffs, and second in OT, to give Chicago a win it desperately needed.
Teams have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-seven series a total of 229 times and have come back to win the series on 20 occasions or 8.7 per cent of the time. But the only team to do it in a Stanley Cup final was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, who rallied famously to beat Detroit.
Coming into Wednesday’s game, the Bruins had won seven straight at home, outscoring their opponents 21-10. Prior to Game 4, the Bruins were 11-2 in their last 13 games, with both losses coming in overtime.