NHL

Game 5's real three stars

Highlights of the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Bruins in Game 5.  Chicago leads the series 3-2.
Highlights of the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Bruins in Game 5. Chicago leads the series 3-2.
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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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Patrick Kane scored two goals Saturday as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, putting the ’Hawks within one win of their second Cup title in four years.

The mullet-rocking 24-year-old’s efforts earned him first-star status from the reporters in attendance, but around these parts it takes a lot more than a potentially championship-saving performance to get that kind of postgame recognition — revisit Game 1, Game 2, Game 3 and Game 4 for a reminder of what does — and Kane didn’t make the cut.

Who (or what) did? Check it out below:

FIRST STAR: Goaltenders playing like goaltenders

After Tuukka Rask and Corey Crawford did very little actual goaltending in Game 4’s offensive outburst, both netminders were back to their usual, elite form in Game 5.

Crawford stopped 24 of the 25 shots he faced Saturday, and the one he let by was an unstoppable one-timer off the tape of Zdeno Chara, who, recall, has won five straight NHL hardest-shot competitions and once blasted a puck 108.8 mph.

And even though he took the loss, Rask was every bit as good as he has been for most of the last two rounds. He stopped 29-of-31 shots — and every shot taken by Blackhawks not named Patrick Kane — including this ridiculous save of a Patrick Sharp slap shot in the first period.

There was a sense that goals would be tougher to come by starting with Game 5, and the goalies delivered. Don’t expect it to get any easier in Game 6 Monday.

SECOND STAR: Feistiness

The longer a series drags on between two teams — especially with a Cup on the line — the more chippy the competition is going to get. Game 5 was certainly the most physical game to date, with a notable increase in post-whistle scrums and a few hits that, perhaps, crossed the line into cheap-shot territory.

It started late in the first period, when Chris Kelly crashed into Crawford, setting off a barrage of pushing and shoving, but no fisticuffs:

Then the first questionable check came midway through the second period, when Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk leveled Jonathan Toews with a dirty-looking headshot. Toews would go to the bench after the hit and would not return to the ice, and it’s not unreasonable to think that Boychuk could face additional disciplinary action for the check.

But the Bruins weren’t done there, and less than four minutes after Boychuk’s hit, Adam McQuaid got a piece of Chicago center Andrew Shaw with a brutal cross-check in front of the net, drawing blood from the Game 1 hero's nose.

Then there was Bruins winger Nathan Horton, who took a puck to the face on the Boston bench, which required five stitches to sew up (though that was more a result of bad luck than it was physicality).

You never want to see guys taking other guys out of the game with their on-ice brutality, and hopefully Toews is able to return for Game 6 — ditto for Boston’s Patrice Bergeron, who left the arena in an ambulance after the apparent non-contact injury below:

But you’ve got to love the action taking shape as the series plays out, and based on Milan Lucic’s treatment of this defenseless goalpost after the game, you’ve got to imagine the teams aren’t exactly going to be friendly with each other when they meet again Monday.

THIRD STAR: Pizza

No matter where you stand on the Chicago pizza vs. New York pizza debate, you’ve got to love the creativity of one Blackhawks fan, who designed a pie in the shape of a 'Hawks logo before Game 5:

Your move, Bruins fans. You might only have one chance left. (Also, the answer is New York pizza, obviously.)

Tagged: Bruins, Blackhawks, Stars, Patrick Sharp, Corey Crawford, Johnny Boychuk, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Nathan Horton

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