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REWIND: Sharp, Vermette Seal Victory in Game 5

An early break and a late winner put the Blackhawks one win away from 2015 Stanley Cup

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum /

Tune in at 7 p.m. and catch Game 4 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final on NBC Sports Chicago

Four games into the Stanley Cup Final, the Cup was coming down to a best-of-three finish between the Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, deadlocked 2-2 in the series. 

"Those final two series of the 2015 playoffs were getting pretty tooth and nail, pretty close," Patrick Sharp recalled. "The difference in the winner was going to come down to a power play or a bad break or just one line outperforming their matchup."

The bad break came early in Game 5 in Florida and Sharp had a front-row seat to the action.

"I had been playing with Jonny all of the sudden with him as the centerman and I don't know if it got my legs going a little more than it should've, but I was skating pretty hard on the forecheck," he recalled, just a handful of shifts into the game. "I could see that there was a little bit of miscommunication. (Victor) Hedman had his intention towards me and where I was going to go and (netminder Ben) Bishop, I could tell, really wasn't aware that Hedman didn't know Bishop was coming, so I just kind of avoided contact and was hoping for the best and, yeah, the puck comes right on my stick."

With goalie and last man back left in the wreckage near the top of the circle, Sharp calmly took a few strides towards the gaping goalmouth and gave Chicago a 1-0 lead just over six minutes in. 

WATCH: Sharp Scores in Game 5

"You don't have time to think about missing that one, you just put it in the open net and thank the hockey gods. As I look back at that one, what if it would've bounced up on my stick or hit a post or something like that? I'm thankful how it turned out."

As it turned out, the goal put the Blackhawks in the driver's seat and early in the third of a then-1-1 game, Antoine Vermette came through with his second game-winner of the series to put Tampa on the brink as Game 6 moved back to Chicago. 

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