Every night during the playoffs, we will wrap up all the exciting action and tell you what you need to know about the 2013-14 Stanley Cup playoffs. Welcome to What You Need To Know.
Blackhawks win 5-4 (2OT) | LA leads series 3-2 | Game 6 Fri.
Chicago Blackhawks: That was quite the hockey game from the Blackhawks (and Kings). The game had quite the similar feel to Game 5 in the East, starting and playing out in a similar fashion. The Blackhawks got a very early power play, scored and then built up a multiple-goal lead only to see it disappear. But they came out desperate and it showed and then they played their tails off in the third period and overtime. Corey Crawford was quickly becoming a story for all the wrong reasons as his struggles were continuing but he was able to right the ship just in time to help keep the Hawks in it. Credit goes to coach Joel Quenneville who made some shakeups with the roster and put Patrick Kane with Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw, giving Chicago easily its best line of the game. That's a combination that shouldn't be touched before the next game. The defensive pairings changed to and at times it showed with the rushes against but the Blackhawks settled in and found their groove.
LA Kings: One thing you can absolutely say after this game is that the Kings made the Blackhawks earn it. You always have to be afraid that a team with a closeout chance on the road in a Game 5 will almost mail it in or really struggle in trying to finish a team. In the early going it looked like the Kings were going to be in that same boat but they showed their defining characteristics, specifically a relentless forecheck and a tight defense. Like the Blackhawks and Crawford, Jonathan Quick certainly had his struggles early but he made a few huge saves for the Kings in this one. All told, though, the Kings have to leave this game actually feeling OK knowing that they pushed the Blackhawks to the brink in an incredible game and basically played them to a draw (shot attempts ended up 81-76 in Chicago's favor, 45-44 in terms of shots on net). Play like that again in LA for Game 6 and the Kings should be more than fine. Also it should be noted, Drew Doughty was once again a monster. He's having one heck of a series.
Play of the Game: Of course the play of the game was really the OT winner but that is in its own post and we can't post a video of the almost eight-minute sequence of uninterrupted play in the first OT, which was quite possibly the best hockey you'll see. So instead we're going with Dustin Brown's second goal of the game, in the second period. This play was pretty much a mess all around for the Blackhawks, especially Kris Versteeg. Keep your eyes on No. 23 throughout this play and then realize he didn't play again on the night.
Player of the Game: There was one player who was head and shoulders above anybody else in Game 5 and it was the Manchild for the Blackhawks, Brandon Saad. He played perhaps the game of his life up to this point -- remember, he still has a long career ahead -- and was involved in everything for the Hawks, including the game-winner. Saad finished with a goal and two assists, had seven shots on goal and another three that missed, had three takeaways, two blocked shots and was a plus-4 in 23:55 of ice time. He was beyond outstanding.
Turning Point: This game was so evenly played in the latter stages that it's tough to pick that one moment but we'll go back to regulation. Really, the turn came at the intermission between the second and third as the Blackhawks came out looking incredibly desperate as they should have, trailing 4-3 at that time. They quickly got the equalizer and then the next 40 or so minutes were just a masterpiece of hockey from both clubs.
GIF of the Game: Talk about your poor penalties in the playoffs. Niklas Hjalmarsson was pretty clearly getting frustrated with the Kings and Dustin Brown's relentlessness so after Brown hit him into the boards and lost his stick, Hjalmarsson wasn't in the mood to hand it back. Instead, he chucked it down the ice and went to the box to feel the shame. The Kings didn't score on the power play but still, inexcusable penalty to take (GIF via @MyRegularFace).