By Kevin Aherne
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Facing a 2-1 series deficit, the Chicago Blackhawks made it clear that if they were going down... they would do it their own way, playing their own style.
Chicago came out of the gates in Game 4 with a high energy, run-and-gun style offense that caught the Bruins' defense on its heels. It was clear from the puck drop that Chicago was coming in hard and fast, and the Bruins were ill-equipped for the onslaught.
Just 7 minutes into the first period, Brandon Saad pickpocketed Tyler Seguin, raced down the ice and dished the puck to Michal Handzus, who put Chicago on the board with a shorthanded goal. Though Rich Peverley was able to strike back a few minutes later, The Hawks had already established their tempo, putting the Bruins at their mercy.
The Chicago attack carried into the second period, where the Hawks netted three more goals. And though the Bruins were able to keep pace, they were unable to find their comfort zone, and were forced out of their normal precision-control style of offense. Defensive stability has been the lifeblood for the 2013 Bruins, but last night, their defensive lines seemed to be a liability.
The Bruins entered the third period down a goal, but still not out. A quick goal from Bergeron knotted the score at 4-4, but a Krejci hooking penalty gave Patrick Sharpe a powerplay goal to go up once more. The Bruins kept pace again in the latter half of the period, when defenseman Johnny Boychuck blasted a shot past Corey Crawford for the equalizer.
So the game headed into overtime... for the third time of the series. The Bruins come into the final frame with fury, setting themselves up with multiple scoring chances in the first three minutes. However, the Blackhawks were able to hold serve, then tilt the ice in their direction. The Bruins were clearly losing steam, and Chicago picked up their pace. Nine minutes in to overtime, Bryan Bickell teed up defenseman Brent Seabrook with the powerful slapshot that flew past Rask's glove, ending Game 4 with a 6-5 victory for Chicago.
Depth was the ultimate key to this game. While most of the Bruins production came from the top two lines, Chicago had four lines firing on all cylinders. In all, 11 goals were scored in Game 4; compared to the cumulative 12 scored in the first 3 games combined. If Chicago is able to maintain this pace, Bruins are going to be in trouble for the final three games.
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