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Blackhawks survive late Lightning surge to tie series

NHL.com @NHL

With each game of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final ending in a one-goal differential, the outcome has hung in the balance until the final seconds of play.

Game 4 Wednesday in Chicago was no exception.

The Chicago Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead thanks to a lucky goal, as forward Brandon Saad described it, 6:20 into the third period. The Tampa Bay Lightning pulled goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy for an extra attacker in the final minutes to try and create a bit of their own luck.

With a little more than a minute left in the game, Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya blocked a shot in front of his goalie Corey Crawford and the puck bounced to Lightning forward Alex Killorn. He settled the puck and passed to forward Steven Stamkos in the slot. Stamkos one-timed it with Crawford sprawling above his crease, leaving the net wide open. Stamkos' shot looked as though it would even the score, but Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook waved his stick in the lane just in time to deflect the puck and send it left of the goal post.

"I thought it was going in," Stamkos said.

The wild scramble continued about 20 seconds later when Stamkos was granted another golden opportunity. Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov passed the puck along the boards to forward Valtteri Filppula, who picked it up behind the net. Filppula quickly passed the puck to Stamkos, who was back in the slot and wristed it toward Crawford's pads. This time, Crawford was deep in his crease and kept the puck in front of him with the rebound swept out of the zone by Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"I was just trying to take the bottom of the net away," Crawford said in the Chicago Sun-Times. "I think he was maybe a little too close to get it up. He was really in tight. Just make sure there's no holes there."

"We had some other great looks that were going to go in too. A couple of times guys almost had their hands in the air," Stamkos said. "That's the way it goes. You can't ask for a more eventful minute and a half in a 6-on-5 situation. That's exactly what we want; [the puck] just didn't go in."

The slight swipe from Seabrook maintained the Blackhawks lead and eventual 2-1 win, evening up the series 2-2 with Game 5 scheduled for Saturday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

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