---- — BOSTON — We found out something for most of the three-plus hours last night.
The Chicago Blackhawks are not the Pittsburgh Penguins, a few of whom got raises and contract extensions after an embarrassing week against the Bruins in the conference finals.
These guys from Chicago fight.
Better yet, these guys, fight back.
In fact, if your Boston Bruins looked in the mirror they’d probably see the Blackhawks, a franchise that doesn’t settle for second place for a lot of the same reasons the Bruins don’t.
Their fan base is as crazy, rabid and demanding as most of you are.
While last night’s Game 4 tilt, a 6-5 overtime win for the Blackhawks, had enough mental errors and lazy mistakes to fill Claude Julien’s briefcase, let’s be honest — it was one whale of a playoff hockey game.
While there is something to be said for the “tight-checking, 2-1 game,” and we’ve seen more than our fair share under Julien the last half-dozen years, last night was a Beanpot championship special. A lot of skating, a lot of back-and-forth action, a lot of shots and double-digit goals.
Tip your cap to the Blackhawks.
To have a chance to win the Stanley Cup after a dominating performance in Game 3 by the Bruins, the Blackhawks had to not only win this game, but they had to crack the Tuukka Rask Code. And they did both.
Unlike the Penguins — did I say they were embarrassing and a few of them were rewarded a few days after the season? — they did something about it.
When bodies are strewn up and down on the ice, including Rask’s, he is not half the goalie we’ve been used to seeing the last six weeks. Rask is on his game when his body is fluid, loose and “quiet.”
Speaking of quiet, three players who have been rendered useless by the Bruins defense through three games — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger — all answered the loud criticism from back home.
But the Bruins deserve credit, too. They trailed 4-2 and never quit.
“We trailed but we fought back,” said Julien.
While Patrice Bergeron earned high marks for his two goals, he was on the ice for three of the Blackhawks goals. On one, Kruger had enough time to finish a 2-on-1 by getting the rebound of his missed shot from a foot behind the post, pulling it back and stuffing it in the open net for a 4-2 lead.
Bergeron was trailing the play and gave, at best, 60 percent effort in getting back and, hence, he was one second late from knocking the puck away from Kruger.
Of course, Bergeron scored his eighth and ninth goals of the playoffs, one on the power play. It didn’t change his playoff worst minus-3 rating.
You can bet the mortgage that will not happen in any of the next three potential games.
You can probably bet the mortgage that this series will have a few more twists and turns, including a few more overtime finishes.
A large core of both teams have gone through these kinds of series — blood, sweat and even tears — in June before.
Their fans want another parade. They want another Cup. Just like you do.
When that happens, teams fight for a championship. And it’s enjoyable to watch.
E-mail Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stanley Cup Finals schedule Game 1: Blackhawks 4, Bruins 3 (3 OT) Game 2: Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT) Game 3: Bruins 2, Blackhawks 0 Game 4: Blackhawks 6, Bruins 5 Game 5: Sat., June 22, at Chicago, 8 p.m. Game 6: Mon, June 24, at Boston, 8 p.m. If necessary Game 7: Wed, June 26, at Chicago, 8 p.m