CHICAGO - Patrick Kane has scored bigger goals in his NHL career. Winning the Stanley Cup in overtime sets the bar awfully high.
By scoring twice in Game 5 of this year's final, all Kane did was put the Chicago Blackhawks within one victory of their second championship in the past four years with Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Kane took over the game like few players can. When he had open ice, he wanted the puck on his stick and always was a threat to score.
The sellout crowd of 22,274 at the United Center reacted accordingly, waiting for Kane's next moment. He delivered his sixth and seventh goal in seven games to send the series back to Boston with the Bruins on the brink of elimination.
"Kaner stepped it up with two huge goals for us," said Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford said.
It took some breaks for Kane to break out, but he and his teammates made them by controlling the play in the offensive zone.
On the first goal of the game, Kane rimmed the puck around to defenceman Johnny Oduya, who threw the puck on net. Oduya's shot broke Dennis Seidenberg's stick before hitting Tuukka Rask's right pad. Kane circled around the net and was in the right place to put back the rebound at 17:27 of the first period.
Kane's second of the night was more speed and skill than it was a case of impeccable timing. And it was more evidence that Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was wise to reunite Kane and captain Jonathan Toews on a line with Bryan Bickell.
Bickell and Toews executed a perfect give-and-go that resulted in a shot and a quick second chance. Kane got behind Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara, crashed the net and snapped one past Rask 5:13 into the second.
The Blackhawks' offence went stagnant not too long after. Chara blasted a one-timer top-shelf on Crawford 3:40 into the third, and the Bruins buzzed for much of the final period before Chicago's Dave Bolland scored into an empty net with 14 seconds left in regulation to seal it.
Meanwhile, it became a game of attrition as both sides dealt with significant injuries.
Toews took a big hit up high from Johnny Boychuk while going to the net, and he did not take a shift in the third period but stayed on the bench the entire time.
Boston centre Patrice Bergeron also left the game, but his injury required a trip to the hospital. The Bruins confirmed that Bergeron was taken by ambulance for observation but offered no further update.
If they have to stave off elimination without Bergeron, it's a substantial loss for the Bruins. The same can be said for Toews if he's unable to play in Game 6 Monday night at TD Garden.
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