In what was by far the most entertaining game on the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks lived to fight another day with an epic 5-4 double-overtime win on their home ice to close the series deficit to the Kings to 3-2.
Less than three minutes into the second overtime frame, Michal Handzus netted his second goal of the post-season to keep Chicago’s dreams of a repeat alive.
For a majority of the game, it was unclear as to which team wanted to win and which was content with the loss. Both teams squandered leads in key moments of the game. High-octane offense of both sides made Game 5 all the more entertaining to watch.
The Blackhawks scored three goals in the first 11 minutes of the game and held a 3-1 lead late in the first period before Marian Gaborik cut the Chicago lead to one with 6:44 left in the first frame. Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson added on two more goals for the Kings in the second period to give them a 4-3 lead heading into the third period.
The lone goal of the third period game off the stick of Blackhawk Ben Smith to knot the game up again at four goals apiece. Neither team would be able to find the back of the net for the next 40 minutes of play, providing us with some high quality goaltending, particularly by Jonathan Quick down the stretch of regulation. Both goalies tallied 40 saves on the evening.
Chicago rode the energy of the roucus home crowd all the way across the finish line. When Handzus sent the Blackhawks home with the win, he also sent the United Center into a frenzy.
Patrick Kane was the unsung hero for the Blackhawks, racking up four assists, including assisting on the game-winner.
On their current track, the Blackhawks are in position to repeat history. Last year, on their way to a Stanley Cup victory, Chicago beat the Red Wings in the Western Conference Semi-finals in seven games after overcoming a 3-1 series deficit. Additionally, in the next round, they beat the Kings in five games. In the series clinching game, the Blackhawks beat the Kings 4-3 in double-overtime.
Both of these teams have been dominating the Western Conference as of late. For the Blackhawks, they are trying to make their third Stanley Cup Finals appearance in five years and the Kings are hoping to make their second in three years.
Game 6 will be in Los Angeles on Friday, and it is safe to say that the Staples Center will be hopping.