The winning goal by Brent Seabrook, not shown, crosses into the net behind Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40), of Finland, as Chicago Blackhawks center
The winning goal by Brent Seabrook, not shown, crosses into the net behind Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40), of Finland, as Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia hover in front during the first overtime period in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 19, 2013, in Boston. Chicago won 6-5. Chicago won 6-5. (Harry How, Associated Press)

“I love overtime.'

Those words have likely come out of the mouths of the countless fans watching at home during one of the most memorable Stanley Cup Final series in recent memory.  But, in this specific instance, they were uttered by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook, who became just the fifth defenseman in NHL history to tally two overtime goals in one postseason when his shot from the right point snuck past Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask at the 9:51 mark of overtime to end Game 4.

"I think it's such a great part of the game, especially in the playoffs when you play until one team scores," he said.

"It's such an exciting part and such an exciting part of the game.  I grew up loving it, and just to be able to get opportunities and play in games like that, they're a lot of fun, and everything is right on the line. I think I definitely try and raise my game in overtime and try and be better."

Seabrook's goal knotted the series at two games apiece. It's the fourth time in the last five years the teams have split the first four contests.  But three of those games have gone past regulation, the first time that's happened in 20 years, when the Montreal Canadiens needed three overtime wins to help get past the Los Angeles Kings in Wayne Gretzky's last chance at a Cup in 1993.


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Overtime has been a theme over the course of the entire NHL postseason, not just the Final; 27 of the 84 playoff games this season have been decided in overtime, which is the second-highest total in league history.  Blackhawks star winger Patrick Kane, whose game-winner in (you guessed it) overtime sent his team to the Stanley Cup Finals in the first place, seemed to get a kick out of the suspenseful nature of the series.

"I guess it's good for the fans to keep watching and keep them guessing for what's next," he said.

"But we feel we're in a good position. It's a best of three series, two of them in our building. It's been one of those series that's been pretty bizarre so far as far as overtimes. Every game has been close, obviously some have been low scoring, some have been high scoring, so we'll see what happens next."

Chicago, who improved to 5-2 in overtime games this postseason with their Game 4 victory, would be wise to take advantage of their home ice advantage when Game 5 gets underway at the United Center on Saturday night.  Since the best-of-seven format was made standard by the league in 1939, teams have split the first four games of the Final 22 times.  The team that's won the fifth game has won the Cup 15 times (68.2%), although that hasn't been the case in four of the last six instances.

And if it goes to overtime again?  Chicago is 4-1 when 60 minutes just isn't enough at home.

**

While the Stanley Cup Final continues on, the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Final was decided on Wednesday night in Syracuse.  The top developmental league of the NHL, the AHL crowned the Detroit Red Wings-affiliated Grand Rapids Griffins as its champion after a 5-2 Game 6 victory over the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning) in a series in which not a single game went to the extra session.

Left winger Tomas Tatar was awarded with the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the playoffs, but first-year pro Petr Mrazek was the star in net for the Griffins, and could push current starter Jimmy Howard for his job in the very near future.

Chris Osgood, the former Detroit goalie who put together a career that will likely land him in the Hall of Fame, spoke to Digital First Media in Syracuse after the decisive sixth game about Mrazek's development and future.  Now the Red Wings' goaltending development coach, Osgood noted that Howard will be in Detroit for a long time, but did say Mrazek reminded him of the most recent-Stanley Cup winning goaltender and another currently fighting for it.

"If anything, (he reminds me) of a Rask or a Jonathan Quick, somebody like that," Osgood said.  "He's still young. he just turned 21.  Maybe one day he'll be something along those lines.  He's really athletic and he really moves well, but he's in control at the same time of what he's doing."