The Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in five games on Saturday. The decisive game went to double overtime until it was ended by Patrick Kane's third goal of the game.
The game probably should have been over earlier but Mike Richards deflected in a shot by Anze Kopitar with just ten seconds left in the third period. While Los Angeles seemed to hold all the momentum, Chicago weathered the storm through the first overtime period and forced a second.
With up and down play throughout the second OT, Kane finally put the puck past goaltender Jonathan Quick, who was largely pedestrian during the series.
While Kopitar and Richards performed in this game, the supporting cast was all but absent. This proved to be crucial in their defeat.
Corey Crawford played well in the series and for most of this game. If not for the goal with ten seconds left, which was nearly indefensible, he would have only given up two goals to the desperate Kings.
Los Angeles will not repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. The Detroit Red Wings were the last team to do so in 1997-1998. Though the Kings showed resolve by coming back twice in the third period (on goals by Kopitar and Richards), they fell short in the end.
With the Blackhawks advancing to the finals, the NHL will see its first original six matchup since 1979. The Bruins should present a tough challenge for Chicago, especially if Tuukka Rask keeps up his hot play.
This should be a series for the ages with all the talent these teams possess.