CHICAGO (CBS) — Patrick Kane scored two goals, and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-1 to put themselves one win away from hoisting the Stanley Cup for the second time since 2010.
Besides Kane’s firepower, Corey Crawford made 24 saves to take a 3-2 lead in the finals. They will try to wrap up the title in Boston on Monday night.
Kane had a terrific postseason when Chicago won it all in 2010, including the winning score in a 4-3 overtime victory in Philadelphia that secured the title. Now he’s picking up steam as the Blackhawks move closer to another championship, collecting seven goals in the last seven games.
“He’s got high-end skills and is very dangerous,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
And it’s a good thing because the other half of the Hawks’ superstar duo, Jonathan Toews, did not play in the third period.
The first championship series between Original Six franchises since 1979 has been nothing short of thrilling.
With Kane leading the way, the Blackhawks looked good in this one. He now has nine goals in the postseason after scoring late in the first period and early in the second.
Both teams missed some chances in the early going. But Kane finally gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead with 2:33 left in the first, after a shot by Johnny Oduya closing in from the left point sheared the blade off the stick of Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg.
Kane, who was to the left of the net, picked up the spinning puck and tucked it past Tuukka Rask into the lower left corner of the net. All that happened after Jonathan Toews muscled past Milan Lucic to carry the puck deep into the Boston zone.
The Blackhawks pushed the pace in the second, outshooting Boston 11-5 in the period and igniting the crowd in the process. Kane really had them roaring when he struck again just over five minutes in.
The puck flipped out to him on the right side and he buried it from close range after Bryan Bickell got stopped from the left wing, picked up the rebound and skated around the net. That gave Kane three goals in the past two games.
For Boston, things didn’t get much better after that.
Patrice Bergeron played just two shifts in the period and skated gingerly to the bench. When asked about that during a break in play, coach Claude Julien wouldn’t provide any details.
“Let’s just say right now we’re going to give him some time,” he told NBC.
He was later taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Toews did not play at all in the third period, initially raising concerns about his status for Game 6.
“We’re hopeful he’ll be ready next game, upper body,” Quenneville said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Boston’s Zdeno Chara cut it to one less than four minutes into the third after David Krejci centered the puck from behind the net. Chara, who has one league’s hardest shots, unleashed a bullet from the left circle that sailed past Corey Crawford’s glove to make it 2-1 with 16:20 remaining.
The Bruins nearly tied it with 2:20 left when Crawford stopped Jaromir Jagr after the puck careened around in front of the net, but the Blackhawks hung on and secured an empty net goal to ice it.
Toews hit the post just under four minutes into the game, and Boston’s Nathan Horton hit the crossbar right after that. The Bruins had another chance midway through the first period when Jaromir Jagr came out of a scrum along the boards but got stopped from the edge of the crease.
Rask spread out and made a neat save with his chest or shoulder late in the period to stop a shot by Patrick Sharp closing in from the left circle.
Teams that have won Game 5 after splitting the first four have gone on to win the championship 15 of 22 times since the league went to a best-of-seven format in 1939. But in recent years, the pattern has not held. The Game 5 loser in that scenario has won the championship four of the past six times, with Boston taking out Vancouver in 2011.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)