CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane scored his
third goal of the game 11:40 into the second overtime period and the
Chicago Blackhawks beat the defending champion Los Angeles Kings 4-3 to
advance to the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday night.
Corey Crawford made 33 saves, and Duncan
Keith scored in his return from a suspension as the top-seeded
Blackhawks eliminated the Kings in five games in the Western Conference
Chicago will host the Eastern champion
Boston Bruins in Game 1 on Wednesday night. Boston completed a sweep of
the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.
This is the first finals matchup of NHL
Original Six franchises since 1979, and it will pit two of the last
three champions against each other.
Chicago won the Cup in 2010, ending a 49-year drought. Boston captured the title the following year.
Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards scored
in the third period for Los Angeles, which managed to recover after
trailing 2-0 in the first period and 3-2 late in regulation. Jonathan
Quick finished with 31 saves.
Kane was in the middle of a quiet
postseason when he finished off Bryan Bickell’s shot for his third
playoff goal in Chicago’s 3-2 win in Los Angeles on Thursday. The
talented forward yelled in relief after that goal and came up with his
best performance of the playoffs in Game 5.
After Crawford made a couple of big
saves in the first overtime, Jonathan Toews carried the puck up the left
side during a 2-on-1 rush in the second extra session. He then made a
cross-ice pass to Kane, who one-timed a shot past Quick and into the
“Johnny made a great pass, and I tried to get it off as quick as I could,” Kane said of the winning goal.
The rollicking sellout crowd of 22,237
erupted in joy as Kane skated back toward the middle of the ice and slid
on his knees as hats rained down. A distraught Quick laid down as his
teammates emptied from the bench for the post-series handshakes.
Chicago was poised to finish off Los
Angeles in regulation when the Kings scored the tying goal with 9.4
seconds remaining. Kopitar took a long shot from the right side and
Richards managed to tip it by Crawford, leading to a celebration for the
Kings while the crowd groaned in disbelief.
“So emotional,” Kane said of the lost
lead. “You start thinking about it when it goes to 14 seconds away from
going to the final. It stuck with us for the first overtime. It was nice
to close it out for sure.”
Richards had a goal and an assist in
his first game since he took a big hit from Chicago’s Dave Bolland in
the series opener, shelving the center with a suspected concussion.
Crawford recovered from the dramatic
tying goal and made a couple of nice plays in overtime, using his glove
to deny Williams and Jake Muzzin in rapid succession midway through the
period. Bickell had an opportunity to end the game at the other end, but
he was unable to corral Kane’s pass on a rush to the net.
The lost lead at the end of regulation
turned into a minor inconvenience for the Blackhawks when Kane finished
his second career postseason hat trick.
Los Angeles also trailed 2-0 after one,
but Williams’ strong charge up the left side set up Dwight King’s
short-handed goal at 9:28 of the second. The Kings tied it 2-2 when
Kopitar pushed a rebound through Crawford’s legs 3 minutes into the
It was Kopitar’s first point of the
series and snapped a six-game goal drought. It also was the third
power-play goal allowed by the Blackhawks in 58 playoff chances.
The tie held until the Blackhawks took advantage of a bad break for the Kings to go in front again.
Williams had the puck behind the net
when he fell, and Bickell made a slick pass to Kane, who beat Quick to
give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead with 3:52 remaining.
Keith missed Chicago’s 3-2 win in Los
Angeles on Thursday night after he was suspended for high-sticking Jeff
Carter in the face in Game 3, opening a 20-stitch gash on the face of
the star forward. The defenseman said it was an accident, and he was
very pleased after the Blackhawks won Game 4 without him.
Back on the ice Saturday, Keith wasted little time in announcing his presence.
With the Kings in the middle of a line
change, Keith got a pass from Michal Rozsival on the left side of the
ice, skated in, and fired a slap shot through Quick’s legs at 3:42 for
his second goal of the postseason.
The Blackhawks kept up the pressure as
the Kings struggled to hold on to the puck, and a little patience by
Kane led to a 2-0 lead just six minutes in. He waited while a scrum in
front of the net took out Quick, and then put a shot over the prone
NOTES: It was the 38th playoff game in the past two seasons for Los Angeles. … Toews and Bickell each had two assists.