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Sunday, June 16

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Blackhawks Thu Jun 20 2013

Blackhawks Win Game 4 By A Biscuit

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png And just like that, we have a new series. The Blackhawks went into Game 4 in Boston last night, down two games to one, and with a facelift on its first line. They came out of it having scored six goals with the winner coming in overtime.

After yesterday morning's skate, it was reported that head coach Joel Quenneville would revert back to a line consisting of Bickell-Toews-Kane, which proved to be successful against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Finals. It also was expected that Marian Hossa, who missed Game 3 from an injury, would in fact suit up and play in Game 4. (Hey, Tony Amonte. Zip it.) What wasn't expected was how Michal Handzuš would get the whole thing started.

It only was a matter of time before one of these two teams would break out with a plethora of goals, it just so happened that both teams decided to do it in the same game. Eleven goals in all during the Game 4 thriller with the Hawks coming out on top by the final of 6-5.

Brent Seabrook, who scored the game/series-winning goal in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings, reprised his role as late-night hero by simultaneously firing a slapper past Tuukka Rask and tucking everyone into bed with a kiss of reassurance and a whisper of "I got this."

And while everyone has been quick to criticize captain Jonathan Toews for only having one goal coming into Game 4, it should be noted that "Captain Serious" camped out in front of Rask while Seabrook was setting up the final stake into the hearts of Bruins fans. As soon as Patrick Kane took a shot on Rask, Toews posted up on two Bruins' defensemen, which included 6 foot, 9 inch giant Zdeno Chára, all while getting manhandled.

Toews' dirty work and second goal of the playoffs aside, it was a rejuvenation of all the other familiar names you've gotten to know: Kane (got the swagger back), Patrick Sharp (handsome), and Seabrook (game-winner). And it was apparent the Hawks' speed on the open ice paid off with the line switch Quenneville made coming in.

On the other side of the coin, there were some things that hurt the Hawks in this game. After all, they did cough up five goals. The first issue was the inability to consistently clear the puck out of their own zone. Weak passing and the complete mishandling of the puck created turnovers, which created multiple opportunities for the Bruins' offense to stay in the game.

Another issue was the Hawks giving up two goals on the penalty kill, where they have normally thrived in being short-handed. Coming into Game 4, the Hawks only had allowed five short-handed goals off of 65 chances from their opponents. Last night, they gave up two short-handed goals off six attempts. (The good news is that the Hawks finally scored on a power play, an area where they have struggled immensely.)

Lastly, Corey Crawford was exposed on his glove side -- an issue that has haunted him for most of the season and these playoffs. That's not to say that Crawford is a sieve on that left side; he's also stopped plenty of goals directed that way. It's just that the Bruins made it look too easy last night, especially after Johnny Boychuk got one up over a diving Johnny Oduya to tie the game at five with just 7 minutes, 42 seconds left in regulation.

The Hawks also looked very much gassed toward the end of the third period and for much of overtime. It was as though a bunch of Handzušes were skating around, trying desperately to clear the defensive zone. Both teams will have two much-needed days of rest before Game 5 Saturday evening at the United Center.

The Hawks seemed to have cracked the Tuukka Rask code, at least for one game, by unleashing a barrage of shots (47) and scoring six. In fact, it was the first time the Bruins were down by multiple goals in a game since its Game 7 match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs (May 13).

Hossa's status for Game 5 is up in the air, but he is expected to play. No one but Hossa himself knows for sure; however, for what it's worth, he did have an assist with more than 19 minutes of total ice time, while wincing his way through four shots on goal.

It's a best-of-three series now with the Hawks regaining home ice. Quenneville is sure to stick with last night's lines from here on out; it's just a matter of getting his team to settle down defensively before making an attempt to go up three games to two in what has already been a classic Stanley Cup Final between these two Original Six teams.

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