Blackhawks advance to finals in 2OT thriller
Patrick Kane had sent the Chicago Blackhawks to another Stanley Cup Final.
And then the Kings wouldn’t let Kane and Co. get that trip started.
Kane’s second goal of Game 5 provided a late lead, the Kings’ Mike Richards stunningly scored with 9.4 seconds left in regulation and then no one broke through after that, sending matters to a second overtime tied 3-3 at the United Center.
A blast from Duncan Keith and a brilliant Patrick Kane goal opened the scoring but the Kings answered with two scores, with a power play goal by Anze Kopitar tying it at 2-2 early in the third period.
Kane, then, seemingly ended it all. Bryan Bickell may have gotten away with a trip in front of the net to get to a puck, which he then backhanded to Kane in the slot. Kane one-timed it for his third goal in two games and a 3-2 lead at the 16:08 mark.
The United Center was girded for victory until a fateful faceoff in the final seconds. The Kings won it, and a Kopitar shot on net was tipped by Richards and beat Corey Crawford for the 3-3 tie with 9.4 seconds to play.
Keith, of course, served a one-game suspension in Game 4 for a high stick on the Kings’ Jeff Carter in the previous game. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact on Saturday, thanks to a Kings line change and some shoddy goaltending.
Keith took a stretch pass from Michal Rozsival and skated into the offensive zone as the Kings changed, firing on Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The Kings goalie watched as the puck skidded through his legs and in for a crowd-rousing opening score at the 3:42 mark.
It didn’t end there. Just two minutes and change later, Quick couldn’t corral a rebound in front of his net. Kane did, though, and gave a head fake that caused defenseman Drew Doughty to hit the ice. Kane then waited, and waited, and after Quick went down, too, he roofed in his fourth goal of the postseason for the 2-0 lead at the 5:59 mark.
The Kings, meanwhile, didn’t muster a single shot on goal until more than 10 minutes had passed in the first period and managed just four total, giving them six shots in the last 40 minutes against the Hawks.
They’d then break through when no one expected it. The Hawks went to the power play after a Dustin Penner interference call, but late in the man advantage, lost control of the puck with Kings winger Justin Williams charging up the ice toward the net.
The Hawks’ Nick Leddy held off a golden chance by Williams, but the Kings’ Dwight King outmuscled Patrick Sharp for the rebound and punched it by Corey Crawford for a shorthanded score that made it a 2-1 game at the 9:28 mark.
Both teams had chances to pile on after that but were left wanting. The Hawks’ Marian Hossa was stoned by Quick on a breakaway with about eight minutes left in the second, and an Anze Kopitar wrister hit Crawford’s glove and just trickled over the cage in the final minute.
Kopitar would get his payoff early in the third. Bickell went off with a boarding penalty not three minutes in, and the Kings would solve the Hawks’ stellar power play. Carter sent a shot on net and Kopitar lingered near the net for a rebound finish through Crawford’s five-hole and the 2-2 tie at the 3:34 mark.
The scene change to the United Center seemed to be everything: The Kings had won just once away from Staples Center all postseason, and Games 1 and 2 in Chicago were emphatic efforts by the Hawks overall.
“We know what they’re capable of doing,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They’ve proven in the past they can win. It’s up to us to do what we have to do and control what we can control.”
Kings center Mike Richards, out since early in the series with a concussion, returned to the lineup Saturday.