Tune in at 7 p.m. and catch Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Final on NBC Sports Chicago
The Blackhawks needed an advantage on home ice in Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay had stormed back to take a 2-1 series lead, including a Game 3 victory at the United Center. Chicago needed to avoid the brink of elimination as the series shifted back to Florida.
"That was absolutely massive," forward Brandon Saad recalled of the game. "It's not do-or-die but you want to think that mentality going into the game because you're going back to a tough building to play in and if you're down 3-1, they kind of have you. That was one of the biggest games of the series and we could ride the momentum from there."
Like every game in the series, it was a tight affair. Jonathan Toews and Alex Killorn traded tallies in a five-minute span in the second to account for the game's only goal. At least until Brandon Saad put the game on his stick with a show of individual skill.
"Yeah, I'm not going to forget that one, that's for sure," he said.
Brad Richards won an offensive-zone draw just over six minutes into the third. Saad rushed the dot in support, picked up the loose puck and saw a wide open lame to the net, putting a shot on goal denied by Andrei Vasilevskiy, but picking up his own point-blank rebound in the midst of three white jerseys and sliding the game-winner home.
"We didn't really have a play, but I wanted to come in, 'Richy' took the faceoff, so I wanted to come in and help win the puck and just find 'Kaner,' I think he was on the half-wall," Saad said. "It just so happened the puck squeaked out, I kind of had time and space where I knew I had a step on the defender, so I just took it hoping for the best and obviously the best happened."
The Blackhawks went up 2-1 in the game as the United Center erupted, going on to tie the series 2-2 and the first of three-straight wins en route to Lord Stanley.
"It's incredible. I think the sigh of, not relief, but excitement of just after that goal went in and the feeling that happens with that, obviously it's a big moment." Saad said. "You don't think about it throughout the game, but thinking back it's pretty incredible to be in that position and especially in a home game with the fans going wild. It's just amazing. It's something you dream of as a kid to be able to contribute like that and pitch in, it's just an incredible feeling."