Is the team's oldest player going to be dropped down a line? Will he even play?
Handzus, 37, played only 4 minutes 28 seconds Monday in Game 4 of the series between the Blackhawks and the Kings.
Then came Wednesday night, 2:04 into a second overtime period, when Handzus scored the game-winning goal to help the defending Stanley Cup champions win, 5-4.
The victory forced a Game 6 on Friday night at Staples Center, where Handzus played from 2007 to 2011 before leaving for San Jose as a free agent.
Forward Brandon Saad, who played an outstanding game, shifted the puck to Handzus for a backhand flick to the left of goalie Jonathan Quick.
Saad said he saw that Handzus "had some speed going through the middle there, making the three on two. I threw it to him."
Handzus smiled at the praise for his speed, knowing his lack of it was the reason he averaged only 13-plus minutes on the ice this season, scoring four goals and contributing 12 assists.
"I think [Saad] slowed down, so … ," Handzus said, jokingly. "I was surprised I got open like that, but [Saad] had a great heads-up play, waited and waited, brought guys to him and then made a great pass. … I got open, but a lot of credit to him."
As Handzus' minutes this series have shrunk from 17:26 in Game 1 to 13:37 to 11:43 in Game 4, he displayed a veteran's professional attitude.
"You still have to have confidence in yourself," Handzus said. "It's fun to be playing in the playoffs, the conference finals. You think of that … you can't just look at yourself and be down and disappointed.
"You've got to be positive. If not, you won't get out of the slumber. I tried to believe I was a better player than I'd showed.
"And I tried to show that again."
"Smart player. … 'Shawzie' had been playing a lot, there was half a shift left, what a great finish, happy for him," said Quenneville, who called Game 5 the greatest overtime hockey game he has experienced.
Saad said Handzus, a Slovakian, showed an experienced player's poise when it mattered most.
"He handled it off his skate and made a great move," Saad said. "He's a leader out here, does all the right things. It's nice to see him get rewarded. Just stick with it.
"There's going to be a hero in here, we kept saying. Luckily, we got one."