The final goal of Patrick Kane's hat trick sent the Chicago Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals and he needed an extra period and a half to do it thanks to Mike Richards.
With 10 seconds left in the game and potentially the season for the Kings, Richards redirected a shot from Anze Kopitar into the back of the net. Immediately, hopeful math was being calculated. We win this one, take care of business back home and see what happens in a Game 7. Goals like Richards's always seem meaningful when they happen, like you have the presence of mind to recognize a turning point as it happens.
But as it turns out, it was just another goal that extended play for an extra 30 minutes. Chicago was in control of the game all night, and Los Angeles had already come back from a two-goal deficit before Richards even had a chance to get in the way of Kopitar's last-seconds game-retying heave toward the net. It's mentally exhausting to keep playing catch up like that—in both micro (this game) and macro (this series) senses—to say nothing of physically playing an extra half-a-hockey-game. Los Angeles spent the night fighting and scrambling just to level out the score while Chicago just played a hockey game. That's how you get the difference in the final two goals: a frantic button-mashing goal to force overtime and a beautiful cross-ice one-timer to win it.
Kane said he was waiting for that play since the previous shift when Jonathan Toews mishandled the puck and Chicago missed an opportunity. His eyes must have looked as wide as the top of the net when he saw Toews streak down the ice with just one man between them.
"I knew he was coming back to me. Just tried to wait for the defenseman to go by me. Tried to get it off as quick as I could in the net."
The only problem for the Kings this time is that you can't play catch up in overtime.
Photo credit: Getty