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Kane saves season for Blackhawks

Goal at 3:07 of second overtime wins Game 5, extends series against Blues

by Amalie Benjamin @amaliebenjamin / Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS - The sounds died and rose around him, the stunned home fans, the elated visiting fans, their brief spots of red studding the Scottrade Center stands. Patrick Kane had been Patrick Kane, as he took the shot, as he got his own rebound and circled the back of the goal, as he set the yawning net in his sights and put the puck in.

It was past midnight at that time, the clock ticking on bedtimes and chances and the Chicago Blackhawks themselves.

Then he appeared, and scored, and pumped his fist, and told the St. Louis Blues that any celebration they were anticipating at making it, finally, into the second round would have to wait until at least Saturday. It was 3:07 into double overtime and he was the difference, the fourth goal in a 4-3 win for the Blackhawks in Game 5 that extended the series and kept Chicago alive.

Video: Kane on double overtime game-winning goal in Game 5

There was, after all, only so much time that Kane could be kept under wraps, only so much time that the Blues could solve a puzzle that had baffled everyone else all season. The dynamic wing had scored 106 points and 46 goals, and did anyone really think that Chicago's season would end without him scoring one more in the playoffs? Anyone?

It was a foolish thought.

It took him 31:16 of ice time Thursday to finally get that goal, having failed on a spin-o-rama earlier, having failed to score in each of the four prior games in the series. Ultimately, he picked his time well. It was what he does.

"He's a clutch player," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Obviously he's a great player. Not a lot of guys can do what he did or does. A couple of those spin moves tonight that were dangerous and he stuck with it on the other side of the net. So obviously you've got to give him a lot of credit. He's special and he's special with everything on the line as well."

Video: Kane gets the Game 5 belt after his 2OT game winner

He saved the season, in the end. He saved the Blackhawks. He extended the series, even after his team had given up a two-goal lead in the third period, even after the Blues had made a big push in the first overtime. He worked and he created and he pushed. He scored.

He has done it before. It was Kane's fifth playoff overtime goal and his 11th postseason game winner. It was a big moment for a big player whose presence had not been enough for the Blackhawks during the first four games of the series.

"I've played in a lot of overtimes with this team," Kane said. "Had some long stretches here in playoff runs, so when you get those opportunities sometimes you come up big, sometimes you get lucky too. I think in the past with our team it seems like it's kind of like the next guy up, it's someone else's turn.

"You can probably say the same for this series. Maybe it was my turn to step up tonight and do something there in overtime, which I've been waiting a lot longer than I should. It's a good feeling, keeps us alive, go back home now and it's going to be exciting playing a Game 6 in our building."

Video: Coach Q on a double OT win in Game 5

Before Game 5, mostly the players who were supposed to score hadn't; although, in truth, Kane had already amassed five assists in the series. With that in mind, Quenneville had done what he often does in difficult spots, starting the game with Kane and Jonathan Toews together.

He knew he would need them. He was correct.

"You can't keep him away from scoring for too long," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "He's one of those players who finds a way, especially in overtime he's one of those guys who just loves to have the puck. That's why we've had so much success in the past, we have guys like that that really like to play in the overtime and like to have the puck and like to score big goals. He's one of those guys."

They needed Kane to be Kane in that moment. They needed him to be the Art Ross Trophy winner, to save their season, as Duncan Keith put it.

And he did.

Video: CHI@STL, Gm5: Kane sends Hawks to win in double OT

But as much as this could have been anticipated -- he was due, after all -- Kane didn't believe he had been playing well before that point. He believed he wasn't good enough in regulation, in the first overtime, as the Blackhawks went up by a goal, were tied, went up by two goals, were tied. He wasn't helping, not enough.

"It was one of those things [where] I try to tell myself to play with confidence going into that fifth period and try to make some plays," Kane said. "I was able to do that a couple times. Fortunate enough that puck squeaked to the side there."

Yes, perhaps. Perhaps there was something fortunate about it. Perhaps the Blackhawks got a break.

Or perhaps it was simply time. Perhaps this was Kane's moment. And he took it.

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