Blackhawks run out of ways to win

Kings defender  Alec Martinez 's hard shot bounced past goaltender Corey Crawford and it was over. Martinez's shot deflected off Hawks defenseman Nick Leddy and before that, maybe Kings center Tyler Toffoli . It wasn't clean, just efficient.

The Hawks led 2-0 in the first 9 minutes, then 3-2 after the first period, and 4-3 until 12:43 into the third period. The full-throated fans, a sea of red, knew how to feel.

Even in overtime, that excruciating man-made torture device, you thought the Blackhawks would get the lucky bounces, as they did here in Game 5.

In that game, the Hawks also squandered an early 2-0 lead and Michal Handzus, of all people, scored the game winner in double overtime.

But the Blackhawks, particularly the defensemen, looked tired in overtime and the deep, talented Kings finally ended a series that has been revered across North America.

On Sunday morning, reporters were asking Blackhawks if they could appreciate this series without knowing how it would end.

"Being a part of it, we know it's been special series, a lot of up-and-down, fast-paced games," forward Ben Smith said. "But we want to be on the winning side of it. The loser of this series probably won't be remembered."

Smith is a smart guy. So is Toews, that serious-minded young man.

After all, how often do people talk about the 2010 Flyers or the 2013 Bruins?

"People forget pretty quick about the team that came up short," Toews said. "We never want to be that team. I guess at the end of the day you can learn from some of it, but right now, I don't think we're willing to accept that or think about that yet."

When the Blackhawks went down 3-1 in this series, they didn't seem rattled. They felt destined to win. The following two games proved their faith in each other was real.

"There was that belief that we're the type of team that has a knack to find ways to win and to put pressure on other teams and make life difficult," Toews said. "We've got a lot of talent, but I think our character and our perseverance matches that by far. I don't know. I guess I'm out of words right now to describe this team and this group and that's no fun right now. That's not what we felt we deserved."

What we deserve isn't always what we get. The Blackhawks learned that hard lesson Sunday.

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