Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews come up clutch for Blackhawks in Game 4 win

Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews come up clutch for Blackhawks in Game 4 win

On their current historic run, the Chicago Blackhawk’s top players end up shining in key and clutch moments. It may be a tried and true storyline, but it’s like clockwork for Chicago.

This happened again for the Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Captain Jonathan Toews led the way for Chicago and Brandon Saad fired the game-winner in Chicago’s 2-1 win over Tampa.

The victory tied the Best-of-7 series at 2-2 with a pivotal Game 5 Saturday in Tampa’s Amalie Arena.

"We got a lot of guys that are top-end guys. We don't just really look for one or two guys. I think they get some help along the way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "When you make lines, there's a lot more options out there. Sometimes we look for balance. Sometimes we look for match-ups. At the end of the day, I think that getting the other team more concerned about different guys makes us a deeper team."

The Lightning were without starting goaltender Ben Bishop, who was scratched in favor of 20-year-old rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Bishop appeared to hurt himself in Game 2 and labored through a Game 3 win. Bishop skated in the morning before Game 4 but clearly was not able to play in the contest.

Vasilevskiy made 17 saves on 19 shots on goal. Chicago’s Corey Crawford made 25 stops.

"If you tell me we're going to come in and he's going to give up two goals, that's a hell of a job in my book. We've had a lot of success when we've only given up two," Tampa coach Jon Cooper said. "We win more of those  games than we don't. We did everything we asked that kid. That kid  gave  us a chance to win the hockey game.  We just scored one. We got to score more than that."

With 13:38 left in the third period Saad (kneel before him!) popped a close shot through Vasilevskiy's five-hole to put the Blackhawks up 2-1. It was Saad's second straight game with a goal. Quite a power move by Saad per the below video.

"Well, I've always said, to me the best characteristic to his game is not necessarily his flat-out skill, his skating, all the tangible parts of his game that you can see firsthand," Toews said of Saad. "I think when he came into the league, he was always pushing himself every night.  He was assuming more responsibility, whether it was scoring goals or playing two-way hockey."

Also in the third period, little-used veteran Kimmo Timonen hit the goalpost at one point in the third as well, to the shock of all of us who had written Timonen off. Hey, he now can have his name on the Stanley Cup if Chicago wins this series.

The game was tight for a majority of the contest.

With 8:13 left in the second period, Alex Killorn took a feed from Valtteri Filppula and fired a shot past Crawford before the goaltender could even see the puck.

Shortly after Patrick Sharp missed on a breakaway, Toews batted a bouncing puck past Vasilevskiy midway through the second period. This put the score at 1-0 and enhanced Toews’ reputation of coming up big in important moments for Chicago.

Chicago took a long time to test Vasilevskiy, firing its first shot on goal with 11:43 left in the first. Overall, Tampa out-shot the Blackhawks 9-2 in the first.

Crawford was up to task for the Hawks, looking sharp in net for Chicago. This included a point-blank stop on Tampa’s Tyler Johnson.


Both Chicago's Patrick Kane and Tampa's Steven Stamkos were hold without goals. Both snipers have yet to score this series. Stamkos missed the net in a flurry near the end of the game -- a shot that may have gone off Brent Seabrook's stick. He was stopped point-blank by Crawford as well near the end.