2013 Stanley Cup Final GIF recap: Blackhawks prevail in spectacular Game 4 showdown

Bruce Bennett

The NHL one-upped the NBA with an instant classic.

On Tuesday night, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs treated fans to one of the greatest championship series games in history. On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins one-upped them with a thrilling Game 4. Chicago evened the Stanley Cup Final with a 6-5 overtime win and left fans everywhere itching for more great hockey.

I'm going to apologize in advance for the amount of gifs in this. This game was too intense to omit any of these. Your browser will hate it, but it'll get over it. (Unless it's Safari. Safari holds grudges.)

Brandon Saad missed out on the Calder Trophy, but he's still eligible for a Shorty Award after setting up this Michal Handzus shorthanded goal in the first period.

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The Blackhawks tried to set a tone early with physical play, but Viktor Stalberg wisely declined to tango with Adam McQuaid.

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Meanwhile, someone apparently left an old cheeseburger in the rafters at TD Garden.

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Unsurprisingly, Boston evened things up in the final few minutes of the first period thanks to a Rich Peverley goal. Notice how he beats Corey Crawford glove-side? Yeah. Keep that in mind.

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Duncan Keith did not make good decisions in the first period. He took an unnecessary hooking penalty before getting called for tripping late in the frame. But ref Wes McCauley took ages to call it.

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It was the first of many weird events in this game.

Like this goal from Jonathan Toews. See what happens when you pair Captain Serious with Patrick Kane? They start contributing offensively.

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Suddenly, Boston found themselves down 3-1 in their own barn. TD Garden was silent, save for the buzzing of flies overhead.

And then things descended into chaos. Zdeno Chara joined the Bruins' attack and Milan Lucic cashed in glove-side on Crawford.

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That was quickly followed by two breakaway saves by Tuukka Rask. Marcus Kruger scored on the rebound of the second one.

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Kane went off for hooking (a running theme throughout the game) and then one of the strangest things happened.

This is how powerful Chara's shot is: his WRIST-SHOT from the point was so hard it careened off the glass in front of the net.

Patrice Bergeron pounced.

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And guess what? It beat Crawford glove-side.

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We all needed a breather after that second period. I'm sure you do too. Too bad! On we GIF.

The third period started with something familiar. By this point, Bergeron and Crawford's glove side were best friends.

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The biggest moment of the game was something I call The Duel. The Duel began and ended within a matter of minutes, but it left quite the impact.

The participants: Patrick Sharp and Johnny Boychuk. It happened in three parts.

A New Hit

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Revenge of the Sharp

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Return of the Johnny

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To the surprise of no one, Game 4 headed to overtime tied at 5-5. And just as he's been before in these playoffs, Brent Seabrook was the hero.

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Whew. One of the best playoff games in recent memory. We'll see what the series has left for us now that it's tied at 2-2.

More in the NHL:

Complete Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage

Why you shouldn’t cheer for Chicago, by a Boston fan

’Boston must pay,’ writes a Chicago fan

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