BOSTON -- Patrick Sharp says the Chicago Blackhawks essentially passed a stress test Wednesday when they survived a wild high-stakes pond hockey game to beat the Boston Bruins 6-5 in overtime to tie the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final at 2-2.
"I know (coach) Joel Quenneville probably had a high heart rate the whole game," the Blackhawks forward said. "He wasn't too happy with some of the chances we were giving up. But in the game, he was proud of the way we competed and battled."
Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook cranked a slap shot through traffic and past goalie Tuukka Rask at 9:51 of overtime to turn the series into a best-of-three heading into Game 5 Saturday in Chicago.
"That (shot) was a bomb," said Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, who made 28 saves in a game that was more reminiscent of the way NHL hockey was played in the 1980s.
Defense was loose. Players were thinking offense. It was a crazy game.
The Blackhawks went ahead 5-4 at 11:19 of the third period when Sharp scored Chicago's first power play goal of the series, and then Johnny Boychuk tied it 55 seconds later with a booming slap shot. The Bruins erased leads of 3-1 and 4-2 to force overtime. It was as if the NHL teams were trying to match the NBA's comeback storyline of Tuesday night.
"You never doubt the heart and character in this room. ... We've been in tough situations before, but we believe in each other," Sharp said.
The two teams scored a combined for five goals in the second period. That was the same number of goals they scored in the two previous games. The Blackhawks had scored one goal in the two previous games combined.
"One of those nights," Quenneville said. "Some pucks go in. We had some breaks around the net, found some loose pucks."
To spark the offense, Quenneville decided to reunite Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who had not played together regularly in the series, even though they had played well together at the end of the Western Conference finals.
Toews and Kane each scored their first goals of the series and had a plus 2 rating. Toews ended a 10-game goal-scoring slump. Their linemate, Bryan Bickell, was plus-3.
"I think it makes a world of difference for you when you finally see one go in," Toews said.
Quenneville was asked whether he regretted not using Toews and Kane together earlier in the series.
"You always get second-guessed," he said. "There are reasons why. At the same time, we didn't mind the way we played the first game, and the first part of the second game."
No question the Bickell-Toews-Kane line had sizzle.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME
"Johnny had the puck more today," Quenneville said. "I thought he was more friendly with it. That line was dangerous."
Remember that Boston coach Claude Julien is known as one of the league's better defensive coaches, a man who seems to figure out new ways to strangle the life out of offensive teams. The Bruins held the Pittsburgh Penguins to two goals in four games.
"I don't think we played our best game tonight," Julien said. "A lot of different reasons. I think our decision-making wasn't very good at times. I didn't think we were moving the puck as well as we had been in the past. It was certainly a tough outing."
With the score tied 1-1, Toews deflected Michal Rozsival's shot from the point at 6:33 to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.
A lilttle more than two minutes later, Kane scored off a rebound, on a backhander, to make it a 3-1 game. Rozsival added his second assist.
With all of the momentum seemingly with Chicago, Milan Lucic scored from the slot to cut the margin to a goal at 14:43. But 49 seconds later, the Blackhawks' Marcus Kruger scored to to regain the two-goal lead.
The Bruins answered at 17:22 when Bergeron scored a freak goal resulting from the puck hitting the glass behind the net and caroming to the top of the net and falling into the crease. Bergeron tapped it in.
"It was a pretty sloppy game all around," said Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "There were too many breakdowns on our side."