Blackhawks Live To Skate Another Day
By Chuck Sudo in News on May 29, 2014 3:00PM
The Blackhawks were cardiac kids at the United Center Wednesday night with a 3-2 double overtime win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The game marked the first time the Blackhawks have won in the playoffs when allowing an opponent four goals or more, a slight return to form for Patrick Kane who had been a non-factor in the series until Wednesday and gave Blackhawks fans signs of hope heading into Game 6 Friday in Los Angeles.
The Hawks took to the ice with energy and purpose and gained a quick 2-0 lead on a power play goal from Brent Seabrook 1:13 into the game and a goal by Johnny Oduya at the 3:40 mark. But the deep Kings cut the score in half on a goal by Jarret Stoll midway through the first period.
Brandon Saad got that goal back at the 11:06 mark with a wrist shot before Marian Gaborik made the score 3-2 with 6:44 remaining in the period.
Los Angeles tied the game at the 11:08 mark of the second period, followed by a snap shot by Tanner Pearson two minutes later to take a 4-3 lead and Blackhawks nation began to sweat as goalie Jonathan Quick and the Kings defense began to control the game’s tempo once again.
But the Blackhawks were nonplussed and kept their composure. A missed shot by the Kings led to a beautiful run by the Hawks that Ben Smith made count.
Suddenly Chicago had new life and went on to control the third period with 16 shots on goal to the Kings’ eight. In the first overtime period both teams skated evenly with the Kings holding an edge in shots on goal. The second period was barely underway before the Blackhawks stole the puck in the neutral zone to set up before Michal Handzus’ game-winning heroics.
Kane had four assists in the game and found room to skate around a Kings defense that had bottled him up in the series' first four games. The improved play from complementary players like Saad, Handzus and Smith also helped as they were in good position all game for solid looks at the net. Los Angeles still had an edge in hits and faceoff wins but the Hawks kept their composure and didn't try to match the Kings in physical play.
Kane, who earned second star of the game honors, looked great on a line with Saad and Andrew Shaw and. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game:
"(The Kings have) been tight on him. They got a tight gap. It's tough to get through that neutral zone with possession. ... Read off his new linemates there, figured things out quickly. He anticipates as good as any player. Patience level with the puck is as good as anyone. Nice to see him get a big night like that."
Puck drop at the Staples Center Friday night is at 8 p.m. Chicago time.