BOSTON — Heading into the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, most fans were expecting a seven-game dogfight. Now, four games into this Chicago-Boston matchup, the players are looking at what remains as a three-game series start Saturday in The Windy City.
The B’s coughed up their first home loss in over a month on Wednesday night, dropping a rare 11-goal contest in overtime, when Brent Seabrook buried the Blackhawks game-winner to give the visitors a 6-5 win.
From the start, this didn’t look or feel like a game the Bruins were comfortable with.
“It [was] one of those games that was very up-and-down,” center Patrice Bergeron said. “We had some breakdowns that we need to adjust, but we did some good things to come back in the game also.”
Bergeron should talk — he was full of good things, once again, for the Black and Gold. The centerman tallied two goals in the loss giving him nine here in the second season. He has four goals in four games this series and has now logged at least 23 minutes in seven postseason games this spring.
“Patrice has been extremely good for us throughout these playoffs,” head coach Claude Julien said. “He’s been good for us forever. He’s a guy that comes to play hard every time. Nice to see him having some good success in the playoffs and being rewarded that way.”
While Bergeron’s success wasn’t anything new, the pace of the game was. The Hawks scored a shorthanded goal six minutes in before Rich Peverley knotted things up on the power play five minutes later.
But things then got a little loopy in the second period. Chicago snipers Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane tallied goals just two minutes apart to give the Blackhawks a quick 3-1 lead not even halfway through the frame. Milan Lucic buried a backhanded rebound past Corey Crawford to bring the B’s within one goal, but Marcus Kruger answered no more than a minute later to pad the lead to two goals for the second time in a matter of moments.
Then it was Bergeron who stepped up and found the back of the net with a power-play tally and opened the scoring in the third period with a game-tying goal. He didn’t let the emotions get to him or the Blackhawks prey on any disappointment the Bruins bench may have been experiencing following the Blackhawks’ quick answer.
“You’re in the game and you’re focused and thinking about the next shift, staying in the moment,” he said.
“It’s a roller-coaster a little bit,” Dennis Seidenberg added. “You want to try to stay even-keel, but it’s tough when there’s so many ups and downs. We’re back, we’re trailing by two, we’re even, we tied it up, and then we gave one up again, so it’s a lot of mixed emotions. At the end of the day you have to try to stay calm and just focus on the uplift and go from there.”
The B’s have gone through their fair share of ups and down this postseason but were lucky enough to have a pretty dominating win on home ice on Monday night when they blanked Chicago 2-0. That somewhat one-sided win wasn’t necessarily what the B’s were expecting this series.
“We knew it was going to a tough series, an even series. That’s what we’re having,” Bergeron said. “We never said it was going to be easy. They’re a great team out there and so are we. It’s a best of three now—and regroup and get ready for Game 5.”
“It’s a 0-0 series now. They have home ice advantage, so yeah it changes it, but it doesn’t change the fact that we just have to focus on the next game,” winger Shawn Thornton said. “Whether we won or lost [on Wednesday] we have to focus on the next game.”
The reason the B’s were able to push the pesky Blackhawks to overtime was Johnny Boychuk and that big piece of lumber he carries around. Boychuk blasted the game-tying goal 12 minutes into the third period for his sixth tally of the playoffs. The goal was huge but Boychuk was also happy with the way his team responded.
“Yeah it hasn’t been like this in a while,” the bruising defenseman said. “It’s just we don’t really like that. It’s not our game, but we did have a good chance to win it and we showed what kind of character is in this dressing room to battle back form those deficits. Even when we battled by one and then they got that next one we didn’t quit and we’ll continue to do that.”