Western Final, Game 5: Kings Lose 4-3(2OT), CHI wins series 4-1
CHICAGO – They allowed the go-ahead goal with just under four minutes remaining in regulation but the Los Angeles Kings proved why they were defending champions by their sheer resiliency. With just 10 seconds separating them from the end of their season and the end of their title run, the Kings scored to tie the game and send Game 5 to overtime. Unfortunately, the late equalizer only delayed the inevitable as the Chicago Blackhawks won the series in double-overtime advancing to their second Stanley Cup Final for four years.
In Game 5, the Kings certainly got off to a rocky start as Chicago scored twice in the opening six minutes of the game and outshot the silver-and-black 10-4 in the process. The Blackhawks, it seemed, were well on their way - but not so fast.
Before the waning seconds of regulation drew near, the resiliency factor had already made its mark for Los Angeles.
Nearing the halfway point of the second period, the Kings were shorthanded and knew that surrendering a power play goal would most likely put the game out of reach. But the Kings took matters into their own hands as Dwight King scored his second of the playoffs to cut the lead in half en route to a better effort, outshooting the Hawks 8-6.
In the third, the Kings wasted little time capitalizing as Anze Kopitar, who has struggled this postseason, scored on the power play to tie the game. The score remained that way until Patrick Kane’s second of the night gave Chicago the lead with just 3:52 remaining. But the Kings were not dead just yet as Mike Richards, in his first game back since Game 1, scored with just 10 seconds left in regulation. All of a sudden, this game was heading into overtime.
In the extra frame, both teams exchanged a plethora of chances at the tempo was arguably at the highest it had been all series long. But one overtime wasn’t enough. The Kings and Hawks went into a second OT where it was made official that the Kings had played their longest playoff game in franchise history.
Unfortunately, that was the biggest dose of good news as at the 11:40 mark of the fifth period, Jonathan Toews fed Patrick Kane who made no mistake shelving it past the sprawling Jonathan Quick ending the game, the series and the season for the Los Angeles Kings.
It has been a long time since I had to write about the Kings getting eliminated from the playoffs and while they did win the Stanley Cup last year, the feeling of losing does not get any easier. Aside from giving the Blackhawks all they could handle, the Kings ought to be proud of themselves. Understandably, it is difficult to see right now.
Jonathan Quick had a great game stopping 31 shots, Anze Kopitar rebounded nicely with a goal and an assist and Mike Richards had a solid return scoring once and adding an assist.
Alas, the season for the Los Angeles Kings is over and a more reflective look on the campaign that was will come later.
It was a tough end to the season but the Kings should leave with their heads held high – even if they didn`t achieve what they had hoped to.