Most of us were watching Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, sitting at the edge of our seats. If you weren’t watching, you missed out on quite the nail biter! For the second game in a row, Brandon Saad scored a go-ahead goal in the third period to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead that would send them to victory and tie the Stanley Cup Final at 2-2. We even saw Jonathan Toews end his scoring drought by getting a goal in the second period—showing us just why he is referred to as “Captain Clutch.”
In preparation for what will for sure be another “60-minutes-of-sitting-at-the-edge-of-your seats-nail-biter-tell-me-when-it’s-over” kind of game, let’s recap what happened in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
A Dull First Period
To begin Game 4, the Blackhawks shuffled up their lines in a big way, but those changes didn’t seem to pay dividends as the team continued to struggle to gain possession of the puck. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, the Lightning couldn’t get much going either. With 9 shots on goal from the Lightning and only 2 from the Blackhawks, the game remained scoreless through a somewhat dull opening 20 minutes.
During the first three games of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, Jonathan Toews was practically invisible—he had no goals and only one assist. In Game 4, the Blackhawks Captain once again brought his best when the team needed it most, scoring the first goal of the night to help defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night at the Madhouse on Madison.
As part of the line changes, Toews found himself on the same lines as Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa—a line that would also do most of the heavy lifting on defense, silencing Tyler Johnson and his line mates. Toews is Captain Clutch and when he is at his best, he seems to set the all-important tone in games this vital.
In the second, Sharp had a breakaway chance, but his goal banked off Vasilevskiy. A few seconds later, Hossa whipped a puck from the blue line that hit a cutting Sharp and came to rest for Toews to indirectly shoot home for the first goal of the night.
All Hail the Saadfather
The Blackhawks failed at an early power play in the third period, but kept the pressure on Tampa Bay. At the 6:22 mark of the third period, forward Brandon Saad scored the decisive goal for the Blackhawks when he beat backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. After Brad Richards won a face-off in the offensive zone, Saad dug through traffic, got to the net, and backhanded a shot to give the team a 2-1 lead in the third. After Saad’s goal the United Center lit up and fans went wild! With the lead in hand, we would need Crawford to hold down the net and keep us from losing yet another third period lead.
Crow Says, “No”
In the final few minutes of the first period, the Lightning got a couple good chances in, but Corey Crawford saved the day on each attempt—we would see just how strong he could be when we needed him the most in the third. After Saad gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead in the third, Tampa continued to press the issue in the late stages of the game, but they were unsuccessful in getting a shot past the brick wall that was Corey Crawford.
Steven Stamkos even had a couple of prime opportunities to score a goal, while Victor Hedman was all over the ice in the closing moments, but Crow continued to say, “No,” to every shot attempt by the Lightning. With a stellar performance and the second star of the night, can Crawford haters be put to rest yet? We hope so.
While it wasn’t the prettiest win, it was still a Blackhawks win and that is all that matters. With the series tied 2-2, the Blackhawks have yet to play their best game, but we have high hopes they will step it up in Game 5—after all, they need to in order to bring the Cup home. Tune in for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final Saturday night in Tampa Bay at 7:00 P.M. and cheer on your Hawks!