Being down 3-1 in their Western Conference final series, the Chicago Blackhawks likely knew this wouldn’t be easy. They went through a lot in Game 5 but ultimately kept their season alive thanks to a thrilling 5-4 double-overtime win on Wednesday.
The Kings now carry a 3-2 series lead to Los Angeles with a chance to stomp out what could be a dangerous comeback bid by Chicago.
If you want to single out some Blackhawks standouts, you would do well to mention Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad. Kane generated four assists in Game 5 after being held to a single helper in the first four contests of this series while Saad was a consistent threat while producing three points.
Saad’s biggest contribution probably came when he set up Michal Handzus for the decisive goal.
Goalies finish strong
While Corey Crawford’s early struggles carried the most attention because of the dramatic nature of some of the goals and his negative body language, each netminder experienced miserable moments before tightening up. To generalize, Jonathan Quick’s night was roughest in the first period while Crawford almost seemed to melt down in the middle frame.
After a frenetic first two periods, the game – and the goalies – settled down as the Blackhawks turned up the pressure in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Chicago generated a 16-8 shot advantage while Ben Smith’s tally sent the contest to overtime.
The first OT period was frenetic as the Kings aimed to move on while the Blackhawks showed no quit. Los Angeles generated 10 shots to Chicago’s eight in that first overtime frame.
At the same time that the Blackhawks were searching for answers on defense, Drew Doughty stood out as a singular force for the Kings. He generated a blistering nine shots on goal through regulation alone and logged almost 40 minutes of ice time tonight.
Things heat up
From Jake Muzzin’s monstrous hit on Marcus Kruger to a game that was wild and thrilling (often both), a series that seemed to lean heavily toward Los Angeles gets a lot more intriguing.
For Los Angeles fans, there are plenty of “almost” moments that are likely agonizing. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks improve to 8-2 in their last 10 games facing elimination. Hockey fans without a horse in the race benefit from a Game 6 in this star-studded series, so the ‘Hawks aren’t the only winners on Wednesday night.