The Chicago Blackhawks would not go quietly into the night.
As all hope appeared to be lost, after Game 4, when the Los Angeles Kings forcefully took a 3-1 series lead, it looked as if it was only a matter of time until the Kings were in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Blackhawks were cleaning out their lockers.
Then, Game 5 happened.
The Hawks Power Play wouldn’t waste much time in making some noise, as Brent Seabrook lit the lamp with a slapshot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead, 1:13 into the 1st period.
Johnny Oduya would get on the early fun with a goal of his own, 2 minutes later, to make the score 2-0 Hawks.
The Kings would start to apply some pressure, as the Hawks appeared to be a little to satisfied with their ridiculously fast start. Nick Leddy and Michal Rozsival failed to clear the puck as well as the traffic in front of Corey Crawford and Jarret Stoll would slip a puck by the Hawks’ netminder, to bring the Kings within one.
Weirdly enough, Stoll’s goal wasn’t enough to cool the Hawk’s hot start. Minutes later, Brandon Saad would supply the answer as he buried a puck past Jonathan Quick to make it 3-1, less than 11 minutes into the 1st period. Patrick Kane would acquire his 3rd(!) assist of the game, on Saad’s goal.
To further question whether either team was playing defense, Marian Gaborik scored to bring the score to 3-2, just minutes after Saad’s goal.
Old habits returned in the form of undisciplined penalties as Niklas Hjalmarsson would take a holding the stick penalty to that would give the Kings mighty Power Play a chance. Luckily for the Hawks, they would kill the penalty and head to the locker room for the 1st intermission with a 3-2 lead.
Both teams would sort of settle down defensively, at the start of the 2nd period,after a ridiculous 1st period. Kane would draw a Jake Muzzin cross-check after the Hawks were driving the puck. This Power Play however would be thwarted by the Kings’ Penalty Kill.
The momentum gained from killing the Hawks’ Power Play chance would be enough to propel the Kings to tie the game as Dustin Brown would wrist the puck into the net to tie the game at 3.
The Kings of the 2nd half of the 2nd period were the Hawks of the 1st half of the 1st period, but better. The ferocious offense would continue as Tanner Pearson would give the Kings the lead off of his snapshot at 13:08 of the 2nd period.
Frustration invaded the Hawks psyche as the ill-timed penalties that came back as Johnny Oduya hooked Jeff Carter. The Hawks were once again able to kill the Kings’ Power Play and cool the hot offense.
Desperation appeared to be setting in once again, for the Hawks, as they came out flying in the 3rd. 1:17 into the 3rd period, Ben Smith buried a rebound to tie the game at 4.
The Hawks would pile on the chances and shots and even with 2 Power Plays were unable to break the tie, and the game would be headed to Overtime.
Overtime kick-off with nearly 8 minutes of non-stop hockey with no stoppage in play. Both teams were playing on the edge and it made for one of the most exciting periods of hockey than one can possibly see, even without any scoring.
The 2nd overtime, however, wouldn’t require as much time. At 2:04 of the 2nd OT, Michal Handzus‘ backhander was the game-winner and the entire city of Chicago could finally exhale, as the Hawks live to see another day, after the 5-4 double OT victory over the Kings.
The Hawks have at least forced a Game 6, and they’ll go from there. Game 6 will be Friday, in Los Angeles at 9pm Central Time. A win in Game 6 won’t be easy, at all, but it is very doable. The Kings are only 5-3 at home(including this series) and their 3 home losses came against teams that are not as good as the Blackhawks. If the Hawks take care of business in L.A, this series could be theirs for the taking, as Game 7 would be played in Chicago.
One game at a time, though.