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Blackhawks' wild OT win levels finals

The SportsXchange

BOSTON -- A reunited forward line helped the Chicago Blackhawks even the Stanley Cup finals.

Brent Seabrook scored on a slap shot from the right point 9:51 into overtime, lifting the Blackhawks to a wild 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, squaring the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Game 5 will be played Saturday night in Chicago, where the Blackhawks split the first two games. The teams will return to Boston for Game 6 next Monday.

Chicago blew a pair of two-goal leads and gave up Johnny Boychuk's game-tying score with 7:46 left in regulation.

"You think you have a good lead when it's 3-1, and then they come back to make it 3-2. Then, we make it 4-2, and they come back," said Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, who had a goal and assisted on the game-winner. "It was kind of back and forth, and I guess it was just our turn to score again."

Searching for offense, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville reunited Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Kane on a line.

The three of them were on the ice for the game-winner, with Toews screening Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.

"I saw it last second," Rask said. "There was some traffic in front, just couldn't make a stretch."

Quenneville said of his reconstructed trio, "I like that line. They seem to have some chemistry. Scoring certainly helps."

Toews also scored a goal as the Blackhawks found a way to beat Boston's usually stingy defense.

"We had some breaks around the net, found some loose pucks," Quenneville said. "I thought we had way more traffic than the last game."

Boston had the best chance early in overtime when Brad Marchand fired a wrister wide right from about 25 feet out. He had another good chance off a faceoff about a minute before Seabrook beat Rask with a shot inside the far post.

"All of our forwards wanted to play well tonight, and we made a point of that in the locker room," Toews said.

The Blackhawks outshot the Bruins 47-33. Rask made 41 saves, and Chicago's Corey Crawford stopped 28 shots.

"There was a lot of our game that was just average, and average isn't good enough at this time of the season," Boston coach Claude Julien said.

The teams provided up-and-down second and third periods that ought to put to rest talk about new rules the NHL might implement to aid in scoring.

Widen the nets? Nope. Decrease the goaltenders' pad sizes? Forget it. Too much defense and not enough scoring? Wrong night to bring that up.

It was only fitting that the teams went to overtime for the third time in the series.

"It was a pretty crazy hockey game," Crawford said. "Back and forth, but it was good of us to stick with it no matter how many times we lost the lead there. We stayed positive, kept playing hard, and it was a heck of a shot by (Seabrook)."

After Boston tied it at 4 early in the third, Patrick Sharp scored a power-play goal at the end of a two-man advantage before Jaromir Jagr could get back into the play with 8:41 to play. It was Sharp's playoff-high 10th goal.

Just 55 seconds later, Boston came back for the third time of the night when Boychuk blistered a shot past Crawford, making it 5-5.

It looked as if the Bruins were about to take control of the series.

"The reason for all those breakdowns is tough to say," Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "At the end of the day, we have to be sharper and just avoid those mistakes."

And they'll need to win at least once more in Chicago to capture the Cup.

Patrice Bergeron tied it 4-4 with his second goal of the game off a feed from Jagr 2:05 into the third period. The 41-year-old Jagr kept control of the puck in the corner, lost it, fell to the ice, got up and stole it back behind the net before sending a pass to Bergeron, who fired a wrist shot beyond Crawford's glove.

Rask was fortunate with just over 13 minutes left in regulation when he mishandled Bickell's shot. The puck deflected off the Boston goalie's glove, hit the cross bar and caromed out of play.

The usually defensive-minded teams turned in a wild second period that saw the Blackhawks score three times to Boston's two and take a 4-3 edge into the third.

Chicago broke in front 2-1 early in the second when Toews tipped Michal Rozsival's shot past Rask. Toews, positioned to Rask's left, redirected the shot just past the netminder's glove.

Just over two minutes later -- and seconds after Rask robbed Sharp on a breakaway with a left-pad stop -- Kane collected a rebound out of a scramble at the bottom of the left circle and slipped a backhander into the net, making it 3-1 at 8:41.

Chicago kept charging, and except for the play of Rask, the score could have been more one-sided. Rask made a pad save on Marian Hossa's blistering shot and a shoulder stop on Brandon Saad's close bid at the end of a two-on-one break.

Less than a minute after Boston's Milan Lucic cut it to 3-2 by scoring on a backhander from the slot, Marcus Kruger scored at the end of yet another two-on-one break, lifting a backhander past Rask.

Then, late in the period, the Bruins had one of the wackiest Stanley Cup goals. Zdeno Chara fired a high shot over the net. The puck caromed off the back glass, bounced on top of the net and into the slot, where Bergeron shoveled it past Crawford for a power-play goal, cutting the Bruins' deficit to 4-3.

Boston nearly tied it a few times in the closing seconds of the middle period. Chris Kelly's tip caromed off the left post. The horn briefly went on, and the crowd was in a frenzy. A few seconds later, Tyler Seguin had a bid, and Jagr's turnaround shot was stopped by Crawford. The Bruins kept the puck in the Blackhawks' zone for the final minute of the period, firing off a number of shots.

In the initial 10 minutes of the game, the Blackhawks came out with similar energy they had at the beginning of Game 2 at home, outplaying, outhustling and outshooting the Bruins.

Chicago outshot Boston 10-2 in the first eight minutes, grabbing a 1-0 lead on Michal Handzus' short-handed goal 6:48 into the game. Saad stole the puck from Seguin at the left point and broke in on a two-on-one play against defenseman Chara. Saad sent a cross-ice pass to Handzus, who flicked a shot past Rask's stick nearly one-handed.

The Bruins tied the game on Rich Peverley's power-play score at 14:43 of the first period. Defenseman Andrew Ference dropped to one knee to keep an attempted clearing pass in at the left point. He sent it into the center of the offensive zone, where Saad, trying to clear it, mishandled the puck. Peverley raced in and lifted a rising wrist shot over Crawford's glove.

The Bruins had a lot of trouble getting the puck out of their own end in the initial 10 minutes of the first, but then they started to change their approach and began breaking free up the middle of the ice.

NOTES: Hossa, who missed Game 3 with an unspecified upper-body injury, was back in the lineup. ... Rask had his shutout streak snapped at 129 minutes, 14 seconds. His home shutout streak also was snapped at 193:16. Earlier in the postseason, he set a club record with an overall streak of 149:36. ... Jagr played his 200th career playoff game. ... Boston C David Krejci entered the night with a playoff-high 23 points, but he didn't add to his total. ... The Bruins are looking to win the Cup twice in a three-year span for the third time in club history. They did it in 1939 and '41 and again in 1970 and '72. ... Chicago D Duncan Keith was whistled for a pair of minor penalties in the opening period. ... Hall of Famer Bobby Orr was in a luxury box waving a yellow towel.

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