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Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: Won’t Say Goodbye

By Colin Likas
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Comebacks in Stanley Cup playoff games tend to be fun for the team making them, as well as that team’s fans. But when the Chicago Blackhawks went up 3-1 against the Los Angeles Kings midway through the first period of a 2014 game, the last thing those wearing the Indian Head at the United Center were thinking was “let’s make a comeback.”

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How quickly things can change over the course of a hockey game. The fantastic most-recent playoff series between these teams make an appearance for the second consecutive day on our countdown of most memorable playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville.

Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.

No. 19: 2014 Western Conference finals, Game 5

Chicago Blackhawks 5, Los Angeles Kings 4 (2OT)

After three consecutive losses, not only were the Blackhawks looking to turn the tide of this series, but they were also looking to stay alive in it. A home crowd at the UC was behind them, and they got a little help from the Kings early.

A little help, specifically, from world’s poutiest defenseman Drew Doughty, who committed a tripping penalty 30 seconds into the contest. Chicago did a lot of passing on its man-advantage, as is the team’s calling card of late, but it paid off in a big way when Jonathan Toews found Brent Seabrook at the point. The defenseman with a penchant for big playoff goal fired a slapper through traffic and past Jonathan Quick, and the Blackhawks were off and running 1:13 in.

They knew one goal likely wouldn’t do the trick against the Kings, though. Andrew Shaw made a smart play leaving his defensive zone a few minutes after the first goal, taking a big hit to make a chip pass to Patrick Kane. Kane carried the puck all the way to the circle to Quick’s left and put a shot on net. Johnny Oduya flew into the play and followed up, shooting the rebound past everyone while taking a big hit himself. But he was able to celebrate from his seat on the ice, as Chicago was ahead 2-0 less than four minutes in.

The red jersey sitting on the ice scored this goal. (Screenshot from YouTube)

So a 2-0 lead early could be dangerous, right? The answer was ‘yes’ this time, as the Kings got right to work cutting into it. Dwight King lost a board battle with Seabrook and Kris Versteeg in the corner to Corey Crawford‘s right, but Seabrook’s attempted chip around the boards was recovered by Jarret Stoll behind Crawford. Stoll threw the puck in front of the net, where four Blackhawks and two Kings (three once Stoll skated in) were hacking away at the puck. Turned out Stoll would get the goal, as he settle the puck and cannoned it past Crawford from below the circles to halve Chicago’s lead at the halfway point of the opening period.

You know who doesn’t get a lot of credit for sound defensive play? Kane. You know who helped create the Blackhawks’ third goal of this game with his defensive play? You guessed it.

Bravo. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Slava Voynov was forced into a turnover right to Brandon Saad, the red jersey you see directly to the right of Voynov. Saad took the puck in tight on Quick and threw it back to Shaw, who’s shot was padded away by Quick. But that rebound went right to Saad, who was able to tap the rebound into a semi-empty net, restoring Chicago’s lead barely a minute after it was cut.

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Unfortunately for Chicago, their offensive prowess would bite them in the backside later in the period. A 3-on-2 saw Marian Hossa feed a cross-ice pass to Toews below the circle to Quick’s left. Quick was able to turn away the one-timer, and the puck quickly (no pun intended) went the other way for an L.A. 3-on-2. Dustin Brown found Anze Kopitar, who in turn from Marian Gaborik below the circle to Crawford’s left. Gaborik’s shot seemed to go through Crow, who stretched his pad to stop the bid but just couldn’t get enough. What wound up being the final score of the first period pulled Los Angeles back within one with almost seven minutes to play.

Saad had a ridiculously good chance in the first couple minutes of the second period, when Quick was slow to cover his right post as Saad attempted a wraparound. But Quick got there in time and then made a glove save from deep in his crease to keep Chicago from its fourth goal.

Not optimal positioning. (Screenshot from YouTube)

That would loom large as Seabrook and Versteeg again struggled with puck clearance with about nine minutes to go in the second. Brown tried to put a shot on Crawford, but the puck ricocheted off a Blackhawk and rolled to Gaborik. Crawford stretched to his left to make a great save on Gaborik, but allowed a rebound that Brown tapped home when he beat two Blackhawks to the spot. With that, we were back where we started: tied.

It wouldn’t stay that way for long. About two minutes after Brown’s goal, Tanner Pearson took the puck in the neutral zone, carried it in and fired a high shot from above the circle to Crawford’s left. Whether Crow wasn’t expecting it or didn’t see it, he completely missed the shot, and the Kings could celebrate their 4-3 road lead.

But you knew the Blackhawks weren’t going to leave 26 minutes of regulation time up for grabs. A nice offensive-zone entry by Saad, Shaw and Ben Smith saw Saad fire a shot at Quick and get a juicy rebound to plop into the slot. Smith was charging hard to the net as he had beaten Stoll back, and he beat Quick to the puck as well to tie the game just 1:17 into the third.

A Stoll penalty at the 16:49 mark of the third gave Chicago a chance to take a late one-goal lead. Kane wired a shot on net on the powerplay from the circle to Quick’s right, and Bryan Bickell was on the doorstep for the rebound. But Quick used solid positioning to prevent a late tally.

So. Overtime. We’ll see a lot of this in the remainder of the countdown.

A few good chances in the first overtime eventually gave way to a second overtime. And an unlikely hero. Seabrook and Kane created a turnover in the neutral zone, and Saad, who was given “best player” status by the color commentator in the above video, carried the puck into the offensive zone. With heavy attention being paid to Kane and Saad, Michal Handzus glided to the area between the circles unchecked. Saad found him, and Handzus made one move and roofed a backhander over Quick to ensure a sixth game.

That’s pretty open. (Screenshot from YouTube)

The United Center erupted and heaved a sigh of relief simultaneously, as the Blackhawks weren’t finished just yet.

Previous entries

No. 20 | No. 21 | No. 22 | No. 23 | No. 24 | No. 25 | No. 26 | No. 27 | No. 28 | No. 29 | No. 30 | No. 31 | No. 32 | No. 33 | No. 34 | No. 35 | No. 36 | No. 37 | No. 38 | No. 39 | No. 40 | No. 41 | No. 42 | No. 43 | No. 44 | No. 45 | No. 46 | No. 47 | No. 48 | No. 49 | No. 50 | No. 51 | No. 52 | No. 53 | No. 54 | No. 55 | No. 56 | No. 57 | No. 58 | No. 59 | No. 60 | No. 61 | No. 62 | No. 63 | No. 64 | No. 65 | No. 66 | No. 67 | No. 68 | No. 69 | No. 70 | No. 71 | No. 72 | No. 73

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