Kane delivers when needed the most

The Kings scored three unanswered goals, including two just two minutes apart in the middle of the second period to take a 4-3 lead, and you could feel the air being drained out of the United Center.

This was the Kings' modus operandi -- keep pushing and pushing no matter what and wait for the opponent to buckle. It was how they rolled to a 3-1 lead in this series, and it appeared as though it would see them vault past the defending Cup champs and into their second Stanley Cup finals in three years.

But early in the third, Ben Smith tied the game, and the Blackhawks peppered Quick with 16 third-period shots but couldn't regain the lead.

The first overtime was a blur of dynamic offense and desperate defense.

Even the Kings, disappointed that they could not hold the third-period lead and close out the Blackhawks, who had closed them out in a double-overtime thriller in Game 5 a year ago, seemed to embrace their part in the drama.

"It's not easy, it's never going to be easy, especially against the defending champions and a team that's won and knows how to win. No one said it would be easy," offered Jarret Stoll, who got the Kings on the board midway through the first period.

"It's a good hockey game, it's a great hockey game. Anytime you get double overtime and two good teams going at it, it's going to be a great hockey game. At points there we were like, 'Jeez, maybe get a cover here?' But it's good hockey for the fans, they were into it, both teams were into it and it was fun."

The Blackhawks came out to start the second overtime with good jump, and just 2:04 into the frame, Handzus, Kane, Saad et al. finished the job.

These Kings are a very dangerous lot. But apparently, so, too, are the Chicago Blackhawks thanks to Kane's star turn in Game 5.

"He's a special player," Quenneville said of Kane. "They've been tight on him, they have a tight gap, and it's tough to get through the neutral zone possession. But he had some good looks. Read off his linemates there and seemed to figure things out quickly.

"He anticipates as good as any player, anticipation with the puck as good as anyone. Nice to see him have a night like that."

Not that Kane's teammates appeared all that surprised.

"We have a lot of character, a lot of guys that are like that," said defenseman Johnny Oduya. "Going to face an even more hostile game coming up, so it's nice to have those guys.

"You know that they [the Kings] like these kinds of challenges and they play better."

So often in the playoffs we say of teams on the rocks that their star players have to be their best players. It is so easy to say, but it is rare that a player actually delivers the goods in such a moment.

Well, maybe not so rare for a player like Kane.

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