Blackhawks survive with double OT win over Kings

Michal Handzus is every day of 37 years old and 15 seasons in the NHL. He knows he’s near the end of his career. He knows he’s slower than most of his Chicago teammates. He also knows how to finish a play in a big spot. Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to stay alive in the Western Conference final.

CHICAGO — Michal Handzus is every day of 37 years old and 15 seasons in the NHL. He knows he’s near the end of his career. He knows he’s slower than most of his Chicago teammates.

He also knows how to finish a play in a big spot.

Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to stay alive in the Western Conference final.

Brandon Saad made a nice pass to the middle, and the oldest player on the ice beat goaltender Jonathan Quick with a backhander for his second goal of the playoffs. The Slovak centre celebrated by pounding the boards behind the net as the sellout crowd of 21,871 roared.

“Saad, two guys went on him and I got open,” Handzus said. “I was surprised I got open like that but he waited and waited and gave me a great pass.”

Handzus has been all over Chicago’s lines all season long as the Blackhawks searched for a second-line centre behind captain Jonathan Toews. His biggest value right now is on the penalty kill, but it was his offence that kept alive Chicago’s title defence.

“I want to help the team as much as I can,” Handzus said. “I’m playing on the PK a lot. I’m not playing very well offensively. I’m glad I came through.”

Saad had a goal and two assists to help Chicago stop a three-game losing streak. Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Ben Smith also scored, and Patrick Kane set a playoff career high with four assists.

“Personally, I thought Saader was the best player on the ice tonight,” Kane said. “He was bringing so much speed and puck protection.”

Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles.

“We go home and we come out with a better effort,” Kings defenceman Jake Muzzin said. “We’ve got some experience and veterans in here who know what it takes to stop it.”

Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist, and Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings, who led 4-3 after two periods. It was Gaborik’s NHL-best 11th playoff goal.

Quick and Chicago’s Corey Crawford each stopped 40 shots.

Los Angeles was in position to advance to its second Stanley Cup final in three years before Smith drove to the net and swept in a rebound 1:17 into the third. Smith’s third goal of the playoffs set the stage for a frantic finish as both sides pushed for the winning score.

“It’s not easy,” Kings forward Justin Williams said. “Attaining your ultimate goal is never easy and we’re going to do our best to get it done.”

Quick made a solid stop on Marian Hossa in overtime, and the loose puck was swept away by the Kings. Los Angeles star Anze Kopitar had a chance to win it about 9 minutes into the first overtime but his shot went off the side of the net.

Crawford had a kick save on Stoll in the first OT after Toews turned it over in the Blackhawks’ zone.

“Overtime, I’ve seen a lot of games, been involved in a lot of games,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, a former NHL defenceman. “That might have been the greatest overtime I’ve seen.”

Back at home for Game 5 after a disastrous stay in Los Angeles, the Blackhawks put together a terrific start. But the Kings weathered the storm and then stepped up their attack in the last part of the first period.

Seabrook, Oduya and Saad helped the Blackhawks to a 3-1 lead just 11:06 into the game. Chicago’s second line of Saad, Andrew Shaw and Kane was a headache for Los Angeles all night long, creating numerous high-quality scoring chances.

But the Kings grabbed the momentum back with a terrific sequence with 7 minutes left in the first. Quick made a great stop on Toews, and Kopitar set up Gaborik at the other end to get the Kings within one.

It was reminiscent of Game 2, when Quick denied Seabrook on a 2-on-1 and the Kings went on to score six straight goals in a 6-2 victory.

This time around, Brown had a nice rebound goal after Crawford made a great save on Gaborik, and Pearson made it 4-3 with a wrist shot from the right circle at 13:08 of second. Pearson deftly used Blackhawks defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson as a screen on his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Quick also had an outstanding save on Saad from inside the goal early in the second.

Pearson’s goal stunned the crowd, but it woke up again when Saad’s perfectly timed shot set up Smith’s tying score. Saad had a plus-4 rating in almost 24 minutes of ice time in one of the best games of his young career.

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month