Patrick Kane hat trick leads Blackhawks to Stanley Cup Finals

Patrick Kane hat trick leads Hawks to Cup Finals

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(NHL Blackhawks / Facebook) (NHL Blackhawks / Facebook)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The two faces of the Blackhawks franchise, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane combined for a double overtime goal to give Chicago a 4-3 victory. After eliminating last season's champion the Los Angeles Kings, the Blackhawks will compete for the Stanley Cup versus the Boston Bruins. If the saying you must beat the champ to be the champs is correct the Hawks are on their way to another Stanley Cup victory.

In Game 5 Blackhawk fans could not have asked for a much better start. The Hawks were all over the Kings and jumped out to a two goal lead in the opening six minutes. First Jonathan Quick let in a soft goal on a seemingly harmless long range shot by Duncan Keith. The puck found a tiny seam between Quick's pads at 3:42 of the first frame. Then the player of the game made a goal scorer's goal as Kane had Quick down and showed great patience with the puck. The Hawks then cruised to a two goal advantage and it looked like this game would be all but over soon.

Give the Kings high marks and it really should have come as no surprise they came out with a spirited effort to begin period two. Couple with the fact the Blackhawks didn't have the same focus or energy as they had in the opening 20 minutes which gave LA momentum.

It looked like Andrew Shaw got away with a charging penalty and Matt Greene later retaliated and was called for cross checking. Shaw took the punishment and the Hawks went to the power play.

It seemed as if the Blackhawks could have put a dagger into the Kings chances with a goal but just the opposite occurred. The Hawks power play was even worse than usual in Game 5 and LA ended up scoring a shorthanded goal to cut the lead in half. Corey Crawford didn't control a rebound and there were a few other errors on the play. All of which resulted in a shorthanded goal by Dwight King at 9:28 of the second frame.

The 22,237 at the United Center were deflated and the Blackhawks couldn't get the same effort back as the first period. Despite what some may think, the Hawks didn't lose a two goal lead in this game because they went into a defensive shell to start the second period.

They lost the lead because LA played with more energy as the Hawks were caught not moving their feet. The Kings were desperate and were winning battles that they lost to start the game. Players like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jarret Stoll were engaged and made a difference. Quick, who started off rocky was better and Crawford looked to be fighting the puck a bit.

Early in the third period, Johnny Oduya was stopped by a Quick blocker save as the net looked to be wide open. If Oduya scored it would have been a 3-1 lead and the Hawks may have had a much easier night. Shortly after Quick's outstanding stop Bryan Bickell was whistled for a boarding penalty and trouble soon followed for the Blackhawks.

Anze Kopitar out-battled both Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson and Crawford couldn't control a rebound. Kopitar made no mistake and put the puck behind Crawford to even the game at two with a power play goal. 

The Hawks were in a real fight as Jeff Carter missed a prime chance to give the Kings the lead late in the period and that left the door open for more Kane heroics. Bickell was able to get the puck from Justin Williams who argued he was tripped behind the Kings net. Bickell delivered the puck to a wide open Kane who gave the Hawks a 3-2 lead at 16:08.

The drama wasn't over as Bickell iced a puck with about 15 seconds to go in the period. Stoll had been winning important faceoffs throughout the game and was on to face Toews. Stoll won the draw as the puck went back to the point and a Kopitar shot was tipped in by Mike Richards to send the game to overtime.

Richards had been out of the lineup since Game 1 with concussion like symptoms. After his deflection one had to wonder if the Kings were going to force a Game 6.

The way the Kings came out on the first overtime it appeared they were going to win the game. They were the better team as they outshot the Hawks 11-6 in the extra frame and had some good scoring chances. Crawford saved his best work for OT and was the main reason the series isn't going back to LA.

The very best teams can get away without playing complete games and still manage to win. That has occurred more than a couple of times in the post season, but it won't be the best recipe for success against the Bruins.

In the second OT period the Blackhawks came out aggressive and were able to push the pace. They were confident and that's why having a three games to one series lead helps a great deal. The Hawks were not afraid to make a mistake and in the end the Kings did just that.

The Kings were caught deep in the Hawks zone as Bickell was able to get the puck quickly to Toews. The Hawks captain led an odd man rush with Kane. Toews made a beautiful pass to Kane who one-timed a well-placde wrist shot past Quick and the Hawks became Western Conference champs.

A noticeable change in Game 5 was Dave Bolland had one of his best outings in a long time. Joel Quenneville went to Bolland's line to play against Carter as they were used in a shutdown role. Bolland and his crew played more minutes than the Shaw line and were effective.

The Bruins roll four lines and Bolland will need to bring his "A" game for the Hawks to have their best chance versus Boston. If Game 5 is any indication, he is back in form.

Blackhawks fans should be concerned about facing the Bruins but the same can be said for fans of Boston. The Bruins haven't faced a team all season like the Blackhawks and that includes their last opponent Pittsburgh. 

I will be back on Tuesday to break down the series and it should be a great one.

On Twitter @AlCimaglia

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