Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has become a prominent figure during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, taking on a key offensive role for a team seeking to win its second championship in four seasons.
Bickell, 27, scored eight goals during the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- one fewer than he had in 48 regular-season games. In the Western Conference Final, Bickell scored goals in three consecutive games, then added a pair of assists in the clinching Game 5 win against the Los Angeles Kings.
Bickell was shut out through the first three games in the Stanley Cup Final, but he came through with two assists in Game 4 on Wednesday as the Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 6-5 to tie the best-of-7 series at 2-2.
He has been gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on NHL.com throughout the series against Boston.
BOSTON -- We had a plan coming into Game 4 on Wednesday, and we knew we had to execute it or the Bruins were going to take a commanding 3-1 lead on us in this series. We couldn't let that happen.
I thought our first period was what we wanted. We emphasized our speed, and I thought in the first we brought it. We created turnovers because we used our speed.
Unfortunately, we got into some penalty trouble and they got some power-play goals, so a couple of our mistakes kept them in it. But other than that I thought we stuck to our game plan of using our speed and it really worked. We probably made it very interesting for a lot of fans back home, too.
We had a lot of chances. Our puck-possession game was there. Overall, it was a good game and it was fantastic to get the OT goal from Brent Seabrook.
I was on the ice for it and it just felt great. Patrick Kane shot it, it came off the scrum and I shot it. I think the puck hit Patrice Bergeron and it went to Seabs, who walked it and then hammered it past Tuukka Rask.
It's just so thrilling and exciting to be on the ice and to help get that goal, but really just getting the goal in general was huge for us to get it to 2-2 with the momentum going back home. We knew how important this game was. It was almost do-or-die.
When the puck goes in all you feel and experience is excitement. You don't even realize it at the moment that you've tied the series. You're just too excited. I mean, an OT goal in the Final; it's nuts. Three out of the four have gone to OT. Crazy!
You're standing there, waiting for it and waiting for it to happen, and then seeing the puck hit in the back of the net -- man, it just gets you fired up!
I know I hadn't produced in the series yet, but I felt good coming into Game 4. I felt comfortable being back on a line with Kane and Toews.
I know coach Q [Joel Quenneville] was talking to me and took some grief about why he didn't play us together earlier in the series, but I think he did it for a reason. We had some success late in the last series against the Los Angeles Kings, but today we got back together, penetrated their box in front of the net, got inside guys and, overall, just made it harder on Rask.
You saw Toews' goal, a deflection in the slot, I don't think Rask ever saw it. Kaner's goal was a rebound in front with traffic. He's in the right spot at the right time.
We feel confident as a line and with this lineup. We need to keep going here.
Now we hop on our late flight home and prepare to get some rest Thursday. With two days off before Game 5 we can do that, but we have to prepare and be ready for practice Friday. I'm sure we're going to look at a lot of video to help us prepare, especially for what we need to do on the PK and power play, because both need to be better.
We're excited now. We're going to get prepared to play in United Center. I think we have momentum now.
It's time to go home.