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Top Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Wins: Gone Too Soon

By Colin Likas

We have 15 entries remaining in the countdown of most memorable Chicago Blackhawks playoff wins under Joel Quenneville, and there will be a common theme among the group. Of those 15 games we’ve yet to discuss, 11 went to extra time. Some just a single overtime, others two overtimes and two of them to a rare third extra frame.

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We’re going to talk about a game that needed two extra periods to reach its conclusion, and it capped a series that showed us what a treat we were in for when that same series took place again the following year. Yes, it’s Blackhawks-Kings, Part 1: The Part The Blackhawks Won.

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

No. 15: 2013 Western Conference finals, Game 5

Chicago Blackhawks 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (2OT)

I remember this game particularly well because I was watching it while out in Las Vegas. The start of the game saw me sitting under a cabana watching puck drop in bright sunshine, while the end saw me at a local Hooters with the sun long since down. It was one of those nights.

The Blackhawks were attempting to clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Final on their home ice. A win would have them meet the Boston Bruins, who had already swept through the Pittsburgh Penguins on the Eastern side.

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Chicago got right down to business in that effort, although the way in which the Blackhawks did that was surprising. Michal Rozsival captured the puck in the neutral zone and fired it cross-ice to Duncan Keith, who carried it in and slapped a shot at Jonathan Quick from just inside the blue line. In a moment Quick would certainly like to have back, the puck went between his legs from very far out, giving the Blackhawks a 1-0 edge less than four minutes in. Quick looked as though he wanted to crawl into a hole and hide at that point.

Or he’s constipated. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Just more than two minutes later, the Blackhawks struck again on another sloppy play by Los Angeles. Chicago dumped the puck in behind Quick, but it took an awkward carom right out in front of the net. Bryan Bickell was first to the puck but wasn’t able to poke it home. Jonathan Toews was next into the mix, but he too was stoned. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, the puck skittered to Patrick Kane coming up between the circles. Kane waited and shifted to his left as Quick flailed in an attempt to stop a shot he knew was coming. He couldn’t come close, as Kane wired a shot just under the crossbar to push Chicago ahead by two.

Justin Williams had a fine chance before the first period ended but was turned aside by a Corey Crawford-Keith combination effort, so the Blackhawks went into the locker room up two.

The Kings brought some more offensive push in the second period to make sure that lead wouldn’t last. After shots from Slava Voynov and Drew Doughty from far out were turned aside, Chicago went on a powerplay. But Los Angeles turned that around when Williams refused to quit on a 2-on-2 play heading toward Crawford. Nick Leddy did a fine job keeping Williams from taking a shot, but the forward still managed to throw the puck in front of the net, where Dwight King had beaten Patrick Sharp (you’ll note he isn’t a defenseman). King tipped the puck through Crow to cut Chicago’s lead in half midway through the second.

Marian Hossa tried to regain the two-goal edge for Chicago with a great individual effort that generated a semi-breakaway, but Quick turned him away. Then, early in the third, Johnny Oduya had a great chance down low off a rebound of a Kane shot. But the defenseman threw it over the top of the net and not into the twine.

The puck is between the two parts of the Verizon logo. (Screenshot from YouTube)

That would turn out to be important, as Los Angeles received a powerplay a short time later when Bickell was called for boarding, one of only four penalties in the game. Jeff Carter circled with the puck to the blue line and fired a shot from there, watching it go through traffic. Anze Kopitar was on the doorstep and poked it past Crawford, knotting the game up less than four minutes into the third.

Now this is where the game started to reach “hard to forget” status. The teams traded several crowd-arousing chances before there was less than four minutes to go in regulation. The Blackhawks’ first line had just jumped on the ice, with Toews and Bickell pressuring the Kings in their own zone. Bickell won a battle with Williams (during which Williams thought he was tripped or hooked) behind the net and fed the puck to Kane, who flew into the frame and flicked a shot past Quick for another Blackhawks lead with 3:52 remaining.

With a rocking United Center and and a chance at playing for the Stanley Cup on the line, how could this turn against the Blackhawks? Well …

After a Chicago icing, Jarret Stoll won a faceoff from Toews with about 12 seconds to go. Kopitar wound up with the puck along the boards to Crawford’s left and fired a shot on net. With the Kings having an extra attacker on the ice (having pulled Quick), Mike Richards was screening Crow and managed to tip Kopitar’s shot into the twine, ensuring we’d need overtime to decide this one.

Chances by Williams and King highlighted the first overtime, as the Blackhawks struggled to get much going offensively. It seems to be a theme in overtime games with this team. But as is usually the case, they did just enough to secure this one.

Jake Muzzin was caught pinching in on the offensive zone, allowing Bickell to get the puck to Toews for a 2-on-1 with Kane. We all knew where the puck was going, as Toews sent a picture-perfect shot into Kane’s wheelhouse for a one-timer that was slammed past Quick to win the game, the series and a spot in the Stanley Cup Final. It also gave Kane a hat trick for the night, as he was the only Blackhawk to score after Keith tallied in the game’s first four minutes.

A thrilling moment to end a series that could have been so much more, had the Blackhawks not rolled over the Kings. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they did.) We got the full series we expected the next year, though without the great result. This win would give the Blackhawks some more time on their home ice, as they opened a championship series with Boston at the United Center four days later. And that would feature even more overtime in a a game we haven’t gotten to just yet on this countdown.

Previous entries

No. 16 | No. 17 | No. 18 | No. 19 | 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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