BOSTON - Inside TD Garden, Boston Bruins fans were loving every minute of it savouring it, not wanting it to end.
The flurry of goals. The comebacks from Chicago Blackhawks leads of 1-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4.
All but the end, of course, a dramatic 6-5 overtime loss.
And now a series that has had each team split their two games at home returns to Chicago for Game 5 Saturday night.
Though the Bruins got by with their signature grit, ultimately they couldn't withstand a big effort from the Blackhawks’ top guns. They couldn't reverse the flow of the game either, a dangerous development when the Hawks have their speed going.
Brent Seabrook's blast from the point 9:51 into overtime gave Chicago the thrilling victory.
In what was their best effort of the series so far, the Hawks ship back to the United Center for Game 5 with home-ice advantage once again intact.
The Hawks, playing with full-out desperation, got a big goal from captain Jonathan Toews – just his second of the playoffs and first of the series – and Patrick Kane hit paydirt as well.
It was all part of a potently entertaining game in a series that won't quit delivering.
"It's a lot more fun that we came out with the win," said Hawks forward Patrick Sharp, who scored his team's fifth goal. "But it was entertaining hockey. It was a lot of fun to be part of."
Through four games now, the two teams have played a total of almost 76 minutes of extra time and the Cup final is guaranteed to go at least six games for the ninth time in the past 10 years.
The entertainment factor wasn't exactly what either coach was looking for, especially given the close-to-the-vest style they favour. The 11 combined goals were the most in any game this playoff season.
Neither goaltender was at his best. Boston's Tuukka Rask, invincible at home since the opening-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, wasn't sharp and Chicago's Corey Crawford continues to be exposed on his glove side.
"There was a lot of our game tonight that was just average," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "And this time of year, average isn't good enough."
Chicago came out with the requisite desperation to avoid returning home for Game 5 trailing the series 3-1. They dictated the pace early and when the game turned end-to-end, it certainly played into their favour.
"I think whatever style of play that's going to be out there, it's going to be evenly matched," Sharp said. "We talked about using our speed, attacking, trying to play on the inside and it resulted in a bunch of goals.
"We'll see how it plays out the rest of the way."
After a 1-1 first period, this game got crazy. The teams combined for five goals in the second and three more in the third to set up the overtime session.
But the Bruins were always chasing on a night when they were outshot 47-33. As proficient as they have been at comebacks this season, the sketchy defensive effort conspired against another miracle finish.
"They're a good offensive team," said Rask. "When you give them goals, and they get the lead, obviously you have to start opening up, too, and creating some offence. That's what happened."
Though not quite so dramatic as the comeback from three goals down in Game 7 of their opening-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Wednesday night it sure had its moments.
The Hawks, however, never felt out of control. Confident at the start and resolute at the end, they delivered the message loud and clear.
"It was our kind of game, we did the right things," Hawks forward Dave Bolland said. "We knew we had to be better, that we can't lay down and let them stomp all over us.
"A statement? Could be a statement."