CHICAGO: Michal Handzus scored 2:04 into the second overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 yesterday to stay alive in their Western Conference final play-off series.
Chicago forward Brandon Saad helped set up the winner by holding onto the puck on the right side. He waited until Handzus was able to drive to the net and take the pass off his right skate before lifting a backhand under the crossbar for the Blackhawks, who still trail in the series three games to two.
“I tried to get open and Saad gave me a great pass,” said Handzus, of Slovakia. “We got one win and now we got to keep going.”
American Saad finished with a goal and two assists for the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, who gave up a pair of early two-goal leads and then fell behind by a goal before rallying for the win in front of a crowd of 21,871 at the United Center arena.
Game six will be tonight in Los Angeles.
“We are going to enjoy this one a little bit. We know it is going to be a tough game in their rink,” Handzus said. “It is a big win but we are still down 3-2.”
Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Ben Smith also scored for Chicago, who now need to win two straight to take the best-of-seven series and advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the third time in five years. Forward Patrick Kane had four assists for Chicago, who also won the NHL championship in 2010.
The Blackhawks have rebounded from being down 3-1 to win a series only once in their history. That was last year against Detroit.
Goaltender Corey Crawford struggled at times but made 40 saves for the win.
“The whole game was some pretty good hockey. Probably the highest pace we have played all year. Overtime was crazy,” said Crawford.
Dustin Brown, Marian Gaborik, Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson scored goals for the Kings, who can reach the NHL championship series for the second time in the last three seasons with a home victory in the next game.
Los Angeles netminder Jonathan Quick stopped 40 shots in the loss. REUTERS