Seabrook an OT hero again for Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- For the second time in three weeks, the efforts of defenseman Brent Seabrook to get the puck through the shooting lane resulted in an overtime winner -- one Chicago Blackhawks fans will be raving about for years.
Seabrook's game-winner, 9:51 into overtime, gave Chicago a 6-5 victory Wednesday night to even the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins at two games apiece.
Game 5 is Saturday at United Center (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) to kick off what has evolved from a best-of-7 series to a best-of-3 series.
Seabrook last scored an overtime winner on May 29, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings. That goal propelled the Blackhawks into the Western Conference Final and the Seabrook legend in Chicago was born.
"He's Mr. Overtime," Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said. "I have to check the numbers on how many overtime goals he has, or assists. In the regular season, he's always up in the play and making something happen. It's kind of funny that he scores right there. I think we all expected him to."
Seabrook's goal against the Wings was mostly an effort to get a shot past defenseman Niklas Kronwall. On that play, the puck bounced off the Detroit blueliner and past the outstretched glove of Jimmy Howard. Wednesday against the Bruins in Game 4 at TD Garden, Seabrook was again trying to beat an oncoming opponent -- this time it was forward Patrice Bergeron. With Jonathan Toews battling for position in front of the Boston net, Seabrook beat Tuukka Rask clean blocker-side.
Game over, series tied.
"I like shooting in that spot. But to be honest, I was just trying to get it past their forward coming out and trying to block it," Seabrook said. "They do such a good job of blocking shots and getting in the way and getting in lanes. I just tried to get it past the first guy. Our forwards did a good job of getting in front and boxing them out. It was just a great play."
The play was remarkably similar to Seabrook's goal in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings; a hard, low slap shot that beat Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick to the blocker side. The main difference on this play was the titanic effort from Chicago's forwards to create traffic in front of the Boston net.
"I definitely have to give credit to Seabrook for the shot he made. Maybe Rask didn't see it at first," Toews said. "For the most part, they're just those little battles, whether it's with [Bruins defenseman Zdeno] Chara or their other defensemen. All our forwards were really keen on winning them tonight. We made a point of it in our locker room. We scored a couple goals off of that."
Seabrook has long been known more for his responsible, stay-at-home, defensive style. But, he's made a number of big plays across the years for Chicago. He assisted on Andrew Shaw's game-winning tally in Game 5 against Detroit, a pivotal 4-1 win that allowed Chicago to claw its way back from a 3-1 series deficit. And of his 56 career regular-season goals, a remarkable 12 are game-winners.
So, while the towering defenseman may not be known for scoring a lot of goals, he's slowly gaining a reputation for being the Blackhawks' clutch performer.
"It's nice. It's great," said defenseman Duncan Keith, who led all skaters with 32:37 in ice time in Game 4. "He's scored some big goals in the regular season over the years. He has a great shot. I was so happy to see that one go in."