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Cullen: Kane lifts Blackhawks into Stanley Cup Final

Scott Cullen
6/9/2013 1:55:20 AM
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Patrick Kane scored a hat trick, the third goal coming in double overtime, to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 win in Game Five, allowing the Blackhawks to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. 

Kane had been in a postseason funk (no goals, two assists in previous seven games) until joining Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell's line in Game Four, but had four goals and a dozen shots on goal in the last two games of the series, playing a huge role in the Blackhawks' victory.

Both Bickell and Toews contributed a pair of assists in the clinching game and Bickell led the Blackhawks with eight hits (Kings D Matt Greene had a game-high 10 hits). Bickell led the Blackhawks with seven points in the series and Kane (five points) was the only other Blackhawk with a point per game in the five-game series. Toews led the Blackhawks with a plus-6 rating.

Duncan Keith returned to the Chicago lineup after serving his one-game suspension, played a game-high 40:12 and scored the Blackhawks' first goal.

Chicago was 1-for-14 (7.1%) on the power play in the series, but they've countered their power play struggles (13.7%) with tremendous penalty killing (94.8%) in the postseason, killing 14 of 16 (87.5%) power plays against the Kings.

Kings C Mike Richards returned to the lineup and, while he struggled in terms of puck possession, he had a goal and an assist; his goal tied the game with nine seconds remaining in the third period.

Kings C Anze Kopitar also had a goal and an assist in Game Five after managing one point in the previous six games.

Scuderi led the Kings in Game Five ice time, playing 34:34.

Kings D Slava Voynov had an assist in Game Five, giving him six points in the series, best on the team. Jeff Carter was next best with five points, Tyler Toffoli and Justin Williams each had three points.

Kings G Jonathan Quick was spectacular in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but was brought back to earth, at least somewhat, by the Blackhawks. Quick had a 2.80 goals against average and .897 save percentage, stopping 122 of 136 shots in the series. Blackhawks G Corey Crawford, by contrast, had a 1.82 goals against average and stopped 127 of 137 shots (.927 SV%).

While Voynov (13 points in 18 games) raised his game in the playoffs, the Kings had too much trouble scoring because they didn't have enough guys performing at a high level. D Drew Doughty, reportedly playing with a bad ankle, had five points and was minus-7 in 18 games. Captain Dustin Brown had a knee injury, but scored only four points in 18 games.

Ultimately, though, Chicago had too much speed and more scoring depth than the Kings' previous two playoff opponents (St. Louis and San Jose) could provide, so the Kings' only chance was to have Quick play out of his mind and that worked through two rounds, but it was likely to catch up to them eventually. Nevertheless, it was an admirable title defence by the Kings.

Now the Blackhawks and Bruins -- the two teams that won the Cup before the Kings last season -- will face-off for the Stanley Cup, two Original Six teams meeting in the Final for the first time.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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