Trying to capture the spirit of the thing after the Blackhawks' 5-4 double-overtime win Wednesday over the Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals:
1. It’s amazing what happens when you skate, pass, shoot and crash the net. It shouldn’t be such a revelation for a defending Stanley Cup champion, but at least the Blackhawks figured it out before next season.
2. Imagine that: The Blackhawks scored the only power-play goal of the game, and they did it by copying the umbrella setup that the Kings had used to destroy them in the previous three games.
3. Brent Seabrook scored the game’s first goal, his first point of this series after piling up 11 in the first two series.
4. The Hawks lost the faceoff battle again, 40-34, and Michael Handzus, who is supposed to be good at draws but can’t generate offense, was 4-11 at the dot and roofed the game-winner. Go figure. This game is as random as what’s left of Donald Sterling’s mind.
5. The comparison to the Hawks’ comeback from three games to one against the Red Wings last year seems inevitable now, so, raise your hand if you recall that Handzus scored a big and surprising goal in a three-goal period in Game 6 in Detroit. Bryan Bickell and, amazingly, on a penalty shot, Michael Frolik also scored.
6. Kris Versteeg made a terrible turnover at center ice, and the next shift made a worse turnover inside the Hawks’ zone. I don’t know how he gets to play next game. I don’t know why he’s still here. I don’t know what he does for a living. He played 6:28 of the 82:04, and it was still too much.
7. The Corsi For metric, which is a measure of puck-possession, backs up the contention that Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad were the best players on the ice. They finished with game-bests 63.6 and 63.4 percentages, respectively, according to extraskater.com. Kane thought Saad was the best player in the game, and Saad’s line of standard stats backs it up: one goal, two assists, three points, a plus-4, seven shots, three hits, zero giveaways, three takeaways, two blocked shots, and 50 percent on faceoffs.
I don’t know who’ll be coaching the United States the next time NHL players compete in an international tournament, but if the guy doesn’t immediately put Kane and Saad on the same line, he deserves a two-hander to the ankles.
8. Brandon Bollig played 8:20 and still managed to finish with a minus-2 and a team-worst Corsi For of 18.2 percent. How do those minutes not go to someone who’s a threat to score? Or even a threat to forecheck with speed? Does Joel Quenneville hate Peter Regin, Joakim Nordstrom and Jeremy Morin so much that he taunts them with Bollig’s ice time?
9. No, Corey Crawford wasn’t great, but he was better than Jonathan Quick, and he was huge in the first overtime, especially when he robbed Jarret Stoll walking down the slot with four minutes to go.
Crawford stoned Jeff Carter seven minutes into the third period after a Duncan Keith turnover, then got a clutch bit of stick work from Marcus Kruger, who tied up Tanner Pearson with a half-open net and potential series-winning goal in front of him. Kruger had to do something good after losing the puck and his check on Pearson for the go-ahead goal in the second period. Keith also lost the puck on that sequence. Stop that turnover garbage already, would you?
10. Niklas Hjalmarsson drew a penalty for grabbing Dustin Brown’s stick and throwing it down the ice. It was obvious and stupid. Real stupid, what with the Kings' power-play success. In fact, it was Andrew Shaw stupid.
10a. Ben Smith has two goals this series, both in the first two minutes of a period. In Game 5, he scored the tying goal 77 seconds after the faceoff to open the third period. The little winger scores some notable goals. His biggest was the Game 6 overtime winner against the Canucks in 2011 when the Hawks nearly managed a comeback from three games to none. In fact, if Patrick Sharp had lifted the puck over Roberto Luongo from the left post early in the Game 7 overtime, the Hawks would’ve done it and probably prompted idiot Vancouverites to torch the city two months earlier than they eventually did.
10b. Johnny Oduya scored from the front of Quick’s crease, approximately 185 feet from the spot Oduya started the play with a breakout pass to Shaw. Yes, I’d call that more involvement from the defensemen.
10c. The Hawks have blown four two-goal leads this postseason. Is that any way to repeat?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun