The Chicago Blackhawks needed to respond, and they did, holding off a furious flurry of jabs from the Tampa Bay Lightning to secure a 2-1 win in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday. Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad provided the scoring, and Corey Crawford made several clutch saves in the finals seconds to help Chicago even the series.
“To be honest, I just think the Hawks – the core players they have there – they’ve been through this a couple times now,” former NHL player and current Coyotes analyst Nick Boynton said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They know what they need to do to win. I thought Corey Crawford had a great game tonight and they just capitalized when they need to. Tampa’s been great, but the Hawks hit a bunch of posts tonight, too. The game could have been a lot different had some of those gone in.”
Toews gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead in the second period, and Saad gave them a 2-1 lead in the third.
After that, Chicago held on for dear life.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” Boynton said. “I think Tampa Bay has definitely outplayed the Hawks so far in this series, but the veteran team they have, for some reason, they find a way to get it done. They couldn’t afford to lose this game, and somehow – even though they were probably outplayed tonight – found a way to get it done.”
Crawford came up huge for Chicago – he stopped 24 of 25 shots – but Blackhawks fans had to be elated that Toews found the back of the net and that Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each had an assist. That trio has been shut down for much of the series, especially Kane, who was held without a point through three games and is yet to score in the series. In fact, Kane hasn’t scored since Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals and has just one goal in his last seven games.
Is the lack of production getting to him?
“Well, stars like that put a lot of pressure on themselves,” Boynton said. “I’m sure he wants to obviously score, but in the end, hockey’s a team game. Just because you’re a great player, if you don’t score a goal, it doesn’t matter as long as your team wins. They put a lot of pressure on themselves. It’s funny. Both those guys – Kane and Toews – they do a lot of different things there to help the team win and obviously they want to score. But at the end of the day, the Stanley Cup’s worth a lot more to them than scoring goals. If they can help their team win, guys like Saad – he’s been unbelievable coming up with big goals at big times. So yes, they want to score, and yes, there’s a lot of pressure there. But as long as the team wins the game and as long as they win two more games, I’m sure they won’t care if they score again in this series.”