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‘Hawks rattle Rask with ‘way more traffic’ in Game 4

Jun 20, 2013, 12:25 AM EDT

Chicago’s gameplan to beat Tuukka Rask on Wednesday night was a simple one:

Don’t let him find the puck.

That what ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville said following his club’s 6-5 overtime victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, explaining that Chicago did a tremendous job of getting bodies in front of Rask, keeping him from seeing shots.

“I thought we had way more traffic than the last game,” Quenneville said. “If [Rask] sees the puck, he’s going to be almost impossible to beat.

“We wanted to make sure we got there, made it hard on him to find it and try to get in on the second and third opportunities.”

Chicago fired 47 shots on Rask all told, and a number of them came with traffic in front, or within 10 feet.

Jonathan Toews scored on a tip-in of a Michal Rozsival shot, Patrick Kane buried a rebound off a Bryan Bickell chance, Patrick Sharp banged home the team’s first PPG of the series and the longest-distance tally — Brent Seabrook‘s OT-winner — came on a shot that went through several bodies before finding the back of the net.

“Nice ending, with the traffic at the net and with Seabs having the nice shot,” Quenneville said. “Kinda like their goal [Boychuk tally] that tied us up.”

Wednesday’s result will be a huge confidence boost for the ‘Hawks, and not just because they evened the series at two.

Hanging six goals on Rask is something no team has accomplished this postseason — he hasn’t allowed more than four in a single game. In fact, you have to go all the way back to Jan. 31 for the last time he got lit up in this fashion, a 7-4 loss to Buffalo in which he surrendered six before the Sabres scored on an empty net.

On a larger scale, Chicago should be pleased it beat the guy that was starting to get into its collective head.

The Boston goalie had a shutout streak of nearly 130 minutes in this series — snapped when Michal Handzus opened the scoring at 6:48 of the opening period — and, through the first three games, boasted a .960 save percentage and 1.22 GAA.

Quenneville had previously lambasted his team for making it “rather easy” on Rask, especially in Game 3, and there were concerns Chicago was going to run into the same fate as Pittsburgh, who could only muster two goals against Rask over the entire Eastern Conference finals.

That wasn’t an issue in Game 4.

In fact, Quenneville seemed pleased that his club found its offense, and confident the ‘Hawks could keep it going for the remainder of the series.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Quenneville said.  “We’ll look at the positives and move forward.”

  1. foleysfish - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    I would just like to say before I say what I am about say that I think the hawks played a good game but I do not a great game. i don’t think they played as hard as the Bruins through the whole game. They let up after they got the lead every time. Keith, odya, Crawford and Bolland were really bad. But in saying that the hawks changed alot of what they were doing wrong. They won the face off battle. Put more guys in front of the net, and used there speed and defense to make Boston make mistakes. Now I will say what will piss off alot of Boston fans. I am so sick of hearing Julien say his team didn’t play well and just played average. That is giving the hawks no respect at all for beating you. It didn’t happen because by accident. His team played really good but the hawks play put pressure on the Bruins and made them make more mistakes than the hawks. That’s why the hawks won. These teams are the best the NHL has seen in a long time and this is going 7 games. For anyone to say that one team is going to run away with this is just dumb. Another thing well I am on my rant. Why when the hawks give a good legal hit the whole Boston teams gets all up in arms like it was dirty. Just get up and play the same way. Of all teams they should know. They are the best in the NHL at clean hard hitting hockey. I really am not bashing Boston I like there team alot and respect the hell out of the way they play. As a hawks fan I wish the hawks played as hard all game long like they do. The next 3 games will be even more entertaining. Go Hawks

  2. pastabelly - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    The Bruins defense was also rattled. Good job by Chicago. Claude, your turn to tighten it up.

  3. tdrusher225 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    They’re starting to get it now. The goaltending is significantly less impressive once you’re getting 2nd chance opportunities and that was the key to this game for the Hawks. The Bruins defense has been exceptional at keeping the front of the net clear and letting Tuukka be in clear sight of the shots coming at him. That being said, I wonder if they’ll be able to keep that up against Chara & co. I guess we’ll see.

    • gmsingh123 - Jun 20, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      Seabrook hitting the puck like a laser beam also helps.

  4. titansbro - Jun 20, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Chicago players were getting upset on legal hits as well. Like when Boychuk hip checked Sharp & Sharp acted like he wanted a piece of him. Chicago was much better last night, but you cannot argue that there weren’t several unforced errors by the Bruins def, the Seidenberg pinch attempt comes to mind. And Kelly, with the missed tip in to the open net. Bruins had chances, & didn’t convert all of them. Chicago did. All in all though, there’s a reason that 3 of 4 have gone to OT & it’s because they’re quite evenly matched. But I also look for Rask to bounce back from this the way he has all season. Should be a low scoring affair in game 5.

  5. uplionsfan - Jun 20, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    Wow, in reading this article you would think that Chicago walked all over Boston in this one. I agree it is a big feat to score 6 on Rask this season, but it was by no means a dominating effort by Chicago. Crawford and the Chicago D was just as bad as the Bruins D and Rask! It was a fun game to watch if you like to see goals, but not so fun to watch if you like a solid, skillfully played game!

    • hockey412 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:21 AM

      I think the bigger point is that Crawford let in some goals he shouldn’t have, while Chicago beat the puck down the back of the net. Even the hitting…Boston made it out to be ‘dirty’ anytime their guys took a clean hit, while they were putting some questionable hits on (and punches) all night long. Just not a good performace.

      • imleftcoast - Jun 20, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        I’m sick of the Bruins whining, but it’s just a distraction. The Bruins have to respond to Game 4 by tightening up their play, and getting back to clog up the front of the net. The Blackhawks need to go into Game 5 with patience. If they come out looking to light the lamp and get the crowd crazy, they stand a good chance of falling behind and having the Bruins slow it down and stifle the offense. There may not be 11 goals in the next three games combined. It’s going to be tight in Game 5.

  6. tripps3 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:00 AM

    Looks like Q had a few successful maneuvers of his own.

  7. winefool - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    All five Boston goals were solid shots, but three out of five were stoppable. You have to expect your goalie to stop all or most of those in a SC finals series like this. Hawks played much better last night but they got a few bounces and needed them. Crawford needs to tighten it up for Saturday on the glove side – we won’t see another six goal game against the Bruins this series…

    • adambballn - Jun 20, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Talk about some puck luck too… how does a puck deflect off the backboards and land right in the crease?

  8. whiskytango333 - Jun 20, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Holy smokes, Chicago adjusted their game plan and got some offense! Dan Bylsma should take notes!!

  9. suckit619 - Jun 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Wow, an article actually giving the Hawks some credit for the win last night. On ESPN and SI, it’s nothing but articles about how the Bruins LOST the game rather than how the Hawks WON the game. Credit to my Hawks for this one. Crawford was bad but they still found a way to score 6 on the road against a great goalie and even better defense.

    GO HAWKS!

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