CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks believed they were going to pull themselves off the proverbial canvas and deliver a night to remember in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at United Center.
Sure, the Los Angeles Kings had delivered three straight haymakers with a run of three straight wins to take a stranglehold in this best-of-7 series, rocking the defending champions to the very limit of their endurance in the process.
When the puck dropped for Game 5, the Blackhawks had no goal other than to play their best game, something they believe they have not come close to doing yet in this series. It was as much about delivering a statement about who they are as an organization as it was about winning the game and getting the series back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Friday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
In the end, they did both.
Yes, they won an instant classic with a 5-4 victory in double overtime, delivered by the unlikeliest of heroes, Michal Handzus. But they also delivered a vintage Blackhawks performance along the way, turning in a showing which will be added to the lore of what has been accomplished at the Madhouse on Madison.
"It's a special group," Chicago forward Patrick Kane said. "I think we know that in the locker room. It seems like in a lot of games we find ways to win, whether we should or not."