Jonathan Toews let out a yell for joy after he put home the overtime winner against the Phoenix Coyotes to send the Chicago Blackhawks into a celebration on Saturday.
The Hawks will live to see another day, and it's all thanks to the determination and grit of their captain.
It was the fifth consecutive overtime in this series, tying an NHL record. But that didn't sway the Blackhawks, who looked more determined than ever to win this hockey game.
Of course, the Hawks showed this kind of determination before in Games 3 and 4, yet both ended on bad goals given up by Corey Crawford.
Though this overtime had a different "feeling" to it, the Hawks were bound to win this game.
Toews had a smile of relief on his face as he spoke to the media following Game 5.
“For me, I just had a feeling that something good was going to happen,” Toews said. “I ended up getting the puck in open ice in the middle. I felt like I had enough time to get my head up and make a clear shot and look for some open space. Went blocker side and it went in.”
Toews did what he has done best in his career: come through in the clutch—just as last year when Toews scored in the final minutes of Game 7 against the Vancouver Canucks to send the game into overtime.
The captain consistently comes through when his team needs him the most. This is the time of year when Toews shines, leading his team to a much-needed victory on enemy ice.
But as exciting as this win was for the Blackhawks, they need to be prepared for Game 6 come Monday.
Blackhawks' defenseman Brent Seabrook spoke about the importance of building off Game 5 heading into Game 6.
"We've got to come out and have a strong effort in Chicago," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "We're going home, which is going to be good, and try to get a lift from the fans and try to get a big win."
The grit and determination shown by Toews will have to be present if the Hawks want a chance to win Game 6.
The Hawks must show signs of life on the power play, as they have yet to score more than one goal on it in this series.
There is also the matter of both Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp putting the puck behind Coyotes' goalie Mike Smith.
But whatever more problems the Blackhawks might have, let's relish in Saturday's victory.
However people determine to judge this game, this win gave the Hawks some much-needed confidence.
“That’s got to say something about our character and what we are able to do,” Toews said. “Especially against a team that, late in games, is so good at protecting leads, playing smart hockey and not making too many defensive mistakes.”
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