Desperation can be a good thing. Especially when it’s about all you have left.
Use any cliché you want: The Blackhawks’ quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champs was on the line Wednesday at the United Center, down 3-1 to the L.A. Kings in the Western Conference finals.
And really, the Blackhawks needed some combination of desperate and dazzling to force a Game 6. Otherwise, they were simply doomed.
Dazzling: What’s this? Why, it's a Blackhawks power play goal! Brent Seabrook's blast from downtown beats L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick, with help from an Andrew Shaw screen.
Desperate: There the Hawks go again, dominating early. Patrick Kane puts a shot on net, which Quick stops, and Oduya does the rest on the rebound to make it 2-0, not even five minutes in. That's what happens when you flock to the net.
Doomed: The Kings. Keep. Coming. The puck somehow sits in front of the Hawks net long enough for Jarret Stoll to poke it in, and suddenly the UC is a lot less comfortable.
Desperate: Another rebound, another Hawks goal. This time it's Brandon Saad following up Shaw's shot. Joakim Noah would be most pleased.
Doomed: Ugh. There's Marian Gaborik, the leading goal scorer in the NHL playoffs, muscling one past Corey Crawford on an odd-man rush. Back to feeling queasy.
Score: Blackhawks 3, Kings 2
Desperate: Desperate meets … world-class goaltending. Brandon Saad has Quick on his back, but the Kings goalie, reaches, and extends himself enough to keep it out of the net.
Desperate: Seabrook, covering up for a teammate's giveaway, lies down in front of Crawford just in time to thwart a Kings two-on-one rush. Crawford owes him a beer.
Doomed: Crawford makes one spectacular save … but not two. Dustin Brown makes it a new game about halfway through on a rebound. What he wouldn't give for his teammates to hack the loose pucks from the front of the net.
Doomed: This is not the Corey Crawford Hawks fans have come to love. Tanner Pearson beats him with a boring shot from the right, and it might be time to start panicking.
Score: Kings 4, Blackhawks 3
Desperate: We'll say it again: This rebounding thing works! Saad with the shot, Quick gives up a rebound, Ben Smith punches it home, Quick swears under his breath. Probably. For sure it's a tie game.
Dazzling: Crawford brought his glove to the game after all. He makes a scintillating save on Drew Doughty to prevent a shorthanded goal. THAT's why he's the man in this town.
Score: Kings 4, Blackhawks 3
Dazzling: Maybe Crawford's best sequence of the night. With about five minutes left, he stops one Kings shot to his right, then flings himself to the other post and stops another. Bring on double OT. Score: Blackhawks 4, Kings 4
Dazzling: Zuuuuuuuus! Brilliant pass from Saad to Michal Handzus, who ends with a backhand flip past Quick. Back to L.A., folks.
Score: Blackhawks 5, Kings 4
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