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Three Stars: Toews, Sharp Solid as Hawks Win Game 4

Offensive explosion marks stark turn from previously defensive series

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In a wild, back and forth affair, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins traded goals all night long, but in the end, it was Brent Seabrook who played the hero as the Hawks beat the Bruins 6-5 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final

 As always, we'll have plenty of reaction to this game on the blog in the coming days, but for now, here are Wednesday's Three Stars: 

Third Star: Jonathan Toews 

There has been plenty of complaining by observers of the Hawks about the offensive play (or lack thereof) by Toews during this postseason, but he seemed to be reinvigorated by his reunion with Patrick Kane on Wednesday night. 

He not only won a majority of his faceoffs just one game after looking dreadful in the dot against the Bruins, but he also used some great pressure in front of the net to deflect a shot into the goal for only his second tally of the postseason in the second period. 

Obviously, that won't be enough to silence his legions of doubters, but it was a great effort from a guy who has been discounted throughout this postseason. 

Second Star: Michael Frolik 

Frolik's play on the penalty killing side of things wasn't up to its usual high level on Wednesday night, but his play at even strength was a huge boost to the Hawks' chances in the game. 

Throughout the first and second periods especially, Frolik was constantly forechecking aggressively, pushing the tempo on the offensive side of things, and along with Marcus Kruger, really helped the Hawks to settle into a rhythm on both sides of the puck. 

It was a play in the second period that really stood out, however. Breaking in on a 2-on-1 rush with Kruger, Frolik pulled a couple of nifty dekes to induce Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara into a dive to try to block the net, but Frolik flipped the puck back around got it to a wide open Kruger. The extra space created by the diving Chara even gave Kruger an extra bit of time to corral his own rebound, and he flipped it past Boston goalie Tuukka Rask to give the Hawks a two goal lead. 

Obviously, the lead didn't stick, but coming on the heels of a Boston goal a mere 49 seconds earlier, it was a huge confidence booster for a team in desperate need of one. 

First Star: Patrick Sharp 

Once again, Sharp was pushing the offensive tempo all night long, pacing the Hawks' attack with eight shots on goal, but it was his response to a huge check that really gave him this distinction. 

In the third period, Boston defenseman Andrew Ference nailed Sharp with a huge hip check along the boards, sending Sharp sprawling to the ice. Undeterred, Sharp seemed to amp up his speed game in the contest's closing minutes, and ending up scoring a power play tally to give the Hawks a (short-lived) lead. 

Sharp now leads all goal scorers in the playoffs, with 10 goals in the postseason, and he looked great in being reunited with Michal Handzus and Marian Hossa on the Hawks' second line. 

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