Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Biggest Takeaways from Game 5

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IMay 29, 2014

Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks: Biggest Takeaways from Game 5

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    The Blackhawks won a 2 OT thriller to stay alive.
    The Blackhawks won a 2 OT thriller to stay alive.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Michal Handzus scored two minutes, four seconds into the second overtime to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. The Blackhawks staved off elimination with the victory but still trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

    Patrick Kane registered four assists for Chicago, while Brandon Saad had a goal and two assists to lead the Blackhawks attack. Corey Crawford made 40 saves, including 11 in overtime to earn the victory.

    Chicago broke out to an early 2-0 lead just 3:40 into the game on goals by Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya, but the Kings fought back to tie the game at 3-3 on Dustin Brown's goal midway through the second period and took a 4-3 lead on a goal by Tanner Pearson just a few minutes later.

    The Blackhawks played with desperation and tied the score on Ben Smith's goal just 1:17 into the third period.

    Neither team scored in a fast-paced and well-played overtime before Handzus kept the Blackhawks alive with his double-overtime tally.

    Game 6 will be played Friday night in Los Angeles.

    Here is a look at the biggest takeaways from Game 5. Feel free to comment on any of the issues discussed here or add one of your own. As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.

The Blackhawks Played with Desperation

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    The Blackhawks played with true desperation to win Game 5.
    The Blackhawks played with true desperation to win Game 5.Bill Smith/Getty Images

    The Blackhawks were on the verge of elimination in Game 5 and they played like it.

    The home team came out flying and scored twice in the first 3:40 of the game.

    Chicago trailed 4-3 entering the third period but scored just 1:17 into the final stanza of regulation and quickly tied the score.

    In overtime, Joel Quenneville's squad was playing aggressively. Instead of playing not to lose, the Blackhawks were clearly playing to win.

    Chicago's star players, who were shut down for most of Game 4, came to life in Game 5. Patrick Kane had four assists and five shots on goal. Jonathan Toews had four shots on goal and an assist. Marian Hossa had six shots on goal and Brent Seabrook scored a goal for the Blackhawks.

    In the end, with their season on the line, the defending Stanley Cup champions played like champions. They made sure they weren't going to be an easy out, and if they lost, they were going to leave it all out on the ice.

Drew Doughty Is a Force for the Kings

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    Drew Doughty played well for the Kings in defeat.
    Drew Doughty played well for the Kings in defeat.Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    The Kings didn't win, but defenseman Drew Doughty played one heck of a game in defeat.

    Doughty played more than 39 minutes in this game, the most ice time of any skater on either team. He also recorded nine shots on goal, more than any player on the ice. Add four blocked shots, two hits and a plus-two plus/minus, and you have the making of one heck of a game.

    Doughty was solid in his own zone and was not on ice for any of Chicago's five goals.

    The only major mistake Doughty made was taking a penalty early in the game which Chicago did convert into a power-play goal.

    Every time he handles the puck, he is a threat to create a scoring chance for his team.

    Best of all, Doughty tends to rise to the occasion and plays his best hockey in big games like the Olympics or the Kings Stanley Cup run in 2012 and again this year.

    Doughty is elite and he played like it in Game 5.

Jonathan Quick Wasn't at His Best

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    Jonathan Quick wasn't at his best in Game 5.
    Jonathan Quick wasn't at his best in Game 5.Andrew A. Nelles/Associated Press

    Jonathan Quick is one of the best goalies in the league, and the Los Angeles Kings wouldn't be one win away from the Stanley Cup Final without his outstanding play.

    But in Game 5, Quick didn't play his "A" game. It's not that the loss was Quick's fault, but the former Conn Smythe Trophy recipient proved he was human with an uneven performance.

    Quick did make 40 saves in a losing cause, and many of them helped keep the Kings alive in overtime and earlier.

    But when the Blackhawks came out flying early in the game, Quick was unable to keep them off the board. The early 2-0 lead kept the crowd in the game and reinforced the confidence of the home team.

    Yes, Quick rallied and composed himself and gave his team a chance to win. Los Angeles even held a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.

    But again, Quick yielded a goal early in the third period which allowed the Blackhawks to tie the game and force overtime.

    The goals weren't necessarily soft ones, but Quick was only good but not great in Game 5, and that was not enough for his team to win.

Overtime Was Very Exciting and Well-Played

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    The overtime was a fast and thrilling 20 minutes of hockey.
    The overtime was a fast and thrilling 20 minutes of hockey.Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

    Even if you weren't a fan of either team, the first overtime in this game was one of the most exciting periods of hockey you're ever going to see.

    The last two Stanley Cup champions went head-to-head, and one of them was facing elimination, so there was plenty on the line.

    Neither team played conservatively. Both teams played fast-paced hockey and went all out trying to win the hockey game.

    There was end-to-end action and plenty of scoring chances on both ends of the ice. The Kings had 10 shots on goal, the Blackhawks registered eight. Both goalies made some big saves and players on both teams made great plays to break up some opportunities in and around the slot.

    Because there were hardly any whistles, and there are no TV timeouts in overtime, the entire period took about 27 minutes to play.

    Blackhawks game was insane tonight! First overtime was some of the most exciting hockey I’ve ever seen! Those dudes got to be exhausted!

    — Chris Childers (@ChildersRadio) May 29, 2014

    There's nothing in sports like overtime playoff hockey. If anybody questions this, make them watch the first overtime of Game 5 again and see if they don't change their mind.

The Blackhawks Got Traffic in Front of the Kings Goal

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    The Blackhawks put pressure on Quick and it paid off.
    The Blackhawks put pressure on Quick and it paid off.Andrew A. Nelles/Associated Press

    The Kings are the bigger, more physical team, but that didn't stop the Blackhawks from getting bodies in and around the Los Angeles net in Game 5, and it paid off handsomely when they did.

    All four of the Chicago goals in regulation time came as the result of getting bodies near the paint in front of Jonathan Quick.

    The Seabrook power-play goal was a shot from the point, but the Blackhawks had two forwards near the crease and Quick was screened on the play.

    The other three regulation goals all came on rebounds and second chances that were successful because the Blackhawks established position in the "dirty areas" around the Kings' net.

    The Kings prevented the Blackhawks from doing this in the last two games, but Chicago's ability to create havoc in front of Quick was a major reason the Blackhawks were able to win Game 5 and stay alive.