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"Patrick Kane used his quick hands to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a two-goal lead and Corey Crawford did his part by stonewalling the Boston Bruins three days after taking heat for actually being on the winning side of a rare offensive barrage in the Stanley Cup Final," Dan Rosen writes for NHL.com.
"It all added up to the Blackhawks earning the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup on the road for the second time in 36 months.
"Kane scored his eighth and ninth goals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Crawford had a bounce-back performance with 24 saves Saturday night as Chicago held on to beat the Bruins 3-1 in Game 5 at United Center to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
"The Blackhawks can lift the Stanley Cup in Boston on Monday, when Game 6 is scheduled for TD Garden. They won the championship on the road in 2010 on Kane's Game 6 overtime winner after they beat the Philadelphia Flyers at home in Game 5."
Kane's first goal on Saturday night.
Kane's second goal.
Corey Crawford saves the day.
Will Jonathan Toews be ready for Game 6? He looked awfully dazed on the bench - where he sat for the entire third period - after taking this hit to the head. Concussion, anyone?
See also: Captain Crunched.
Note: The NHL has announced it will not discipline Bruin Johnny Boychuk for the hit.
The Third Man
"Bryan Bickell skated toward the net, as brawny, crusty wingers are wont to do, then stopped once the whistle blew," Brian Hamilton writes for the Tribune.
"Then came the purposeful shove from the Bruins' Zdeno Chara, sending Bickell back-first into the glass. The Blackhawks winger stood incredulous, with a glove turned upward.
"It was Milan Lucic's turn moments later, as the Bruins winger skated over and stood nose-to-nose with Bickell. They presumably did not exchange souffle recipes, given what TV cameras caught during the ensuing face-off.
"'You're a fucking phony, you know that?' Lucic barked at Bickell.
"It was agitation and frustration that was all too real and effective in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday, with Bickell once again balancing physicality and production in a 3-1 victory at the United Center, assisting on the game-winning goal in a moment that encapsulated how the Hawks got to be one triumph away from a championship."
The Blackhawks may have been without their captain for the third period, but the Bruins were without its heart, soul and most valuable player in Patrice Bergeron for the last two periods.
The NHL's ridiculously lax injury reporting requirements, possibly written by Bill Belichick, don't help anyone, truly, so we have no idea what's really wrong with Bergeron or Toews. Fan-friendly!
Playing in the shadow of Toews and Kane (and even Marian Hossa) has made Patrick Sharp the most underrated Blackhawk out there - maybe even the most underrated player in the league.
"Yes, Patrick Sharp is getting a bit of grief from his teammates after he tumbled to the ice while celebrating a rare power-play goal for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals," AP wrote before last night's game.
"It's OK. Sharp is having too much fun to care.
"'I know I enjoy playing in games that mean a lot,' said Sharp, who leads the NHL with 10 playoff goals. 'I enjoy the big stage. I think we have a lot of players in this room that do that and that's the reason why we keep getting back here.'
"Sharp has been a key playoff performer for Chicago once again after he missed 14 games during the regular season with a shoulder injury. The talented wing had 11 goals and 11 assists in the postseason when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010.
"He has six assists this year, making him a contender for the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP."
Last night, though, he got robbed.
"After giving up six goals to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask's numbers might have taken a bit of a hit," Chris Peters writes for CBS Sports.
"However, during the first period of Game 5 on Saturday night, Rask showed the form that has made him the postseason's best goaltender.
"With just over five minutes to play in the first period, Chicago got a rare open look as Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp found some room to work. As Handzus sent the puck over to Sharp, the left side of the net was gaping. That's when Rask exploded off the right side of the crease to make a lunging save with his arm off Sharp's one-time shot and preserve the 0-0 scoreline.
"It might be one of the best saves of the series. Sharp was sure to score if not for the athleticism of Rask."
Here it is:
The End Is Near
"A dozen slices of wheat bread and two plates of quartered oranges sat untouched on a table in the middle of the Boston locker room, fortifications for an overtime period that never came," Jim Litke writes for AP.
"In one corner of the room, attendants piled sticks into equipment bags as fast as they could. In the other, Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara impatiently kept climbing off a table before the trainer massaging his sore right thigh was done. The team bus was already idling in a loading dock nearby.
"After a decisive 3-1 win by the Blackhawks on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins apparently couldn't get out of town fast enough. Whether they'll make it back to Chicago for Game 7 rests on the slim hope that they'll be able to generate more offense than they managed in the third period, or the rest of the series for that matter.
"We had some momentum there," Boston goaltender Tukka Rask said afterward. "We just ran out of time."
"More troubling, though, the Bruins are down 3-2 and fast running out of options."
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Posted on Mar 24, 2017