CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane scored two goals, and the Chicago Blackhawks led the Boston Bruins 2-0 through the second period in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday night.
The first championship series between Original Six franchises since 1979 has been nothing short of thrilling, with only one game being decided in regulation and the teams splitting the first four.
With Kane leading the way, the Blackhawks were looking good in this one. He now has nine goals in the postseason after scoring late in the first period and early in the second.
Both teams missed some chances in the early going. But Kane finally gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first, after a shot by Johnny Oduya closing in from the left point sheared the blade off the stick of Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Kane, who was to the left of the net, picked up the spinning puck and tucked it past Tuukka Rask into the lower left corner of the net. All that happened after Jonathan Toews muscled past Milan Lucic to carry the puck deep into the Boston zone.
The Blackhawks pushed the pace in the second, outshooting Boston 11-5 in the period and igniting the crowd in the process. Kane really had them roaring when he struck again just over five minutes in.
The puck flipped out to him on the right side and he buried it from close range after Bryan Bickell got stopped from the left wing, picked up the rebound and skated around the net. That gave Kane three goals in the past two games.
For Boston, things didn't get much better after that.
Patrice Bergeron played just two shifts in the period and skated gingerly to the bench. When asked about that during a break in play, coach Claude Julien wouldn't provide any details.
"Let's just say right now we're going to give him some time," he told NBC.
Corey Crawford did his job in goal for Chicago with 16 saves through the first two periods after getting beaten five times to his glove side during Wednesday's 6-5 overtime victory. Rask stopped 17 shots.
Boston outhit Chicago 38-19 even though the Blackhawks indicated they would go right at the Bruins' Zdeno Chara, just as they did in Game 4. David Krejci, Lucic and Johnny Boychuk each had five hits.
Toews hit the post just under four minutes into the game, and Boston's Nathan Horton hit the crossbar right after that. The Bruins had another chance midway through the first period when Jaromir Jagr came out of a scrum along the boards but got stopped from the edge of the crease.
Rask spread out and made a neat save with his chest or shoulder late in the period to stop a shot by Patrick Sharp closing in from the left circle.
Marian Hossa was in the lineup for Chicago as expected after missing the morning skate and practice on Friday. He was scratched from Game 3 because of an upper body injury but did play in Game 4. The Bruins also had center Carl Soderberg in the lineup over Kaspars Daugavins, another adjustment during arguably the wildest final in years.
Both teams have been doing whatever they can to get an edge, whether it was Chicago pairing Toews and Kane on the same line in Game 4 or Boston teaming Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille and Tyler Seguin in Game 2.
It had been 20 years since a championship series had at least three games go to overtime, and this is just the sixth time since 1927 it has happened. The only other final to feature more OT games during that stretch was when Toronto and Montreal played five in 1951.
Teams that have won Game 5 after splitting the first four have gone on to win the championship 15 of 22 times since the league went to a best-of-seven format in 1939. But in recent years, the pattern has not held. The Game 5 loser in that scenario has won the championship four of the past six times, with Boston taking out Vancouver in 2011.