When the Los Angeles Kings fell down 2-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals, it drew memories back to when they fell down two games to nil in the first-round of this year’s NHL playoffs or when they snuck in as an eighth-seed last year before barreling through to win it all.
Down 3-1 in the series against Chicago and knowing it was do or die, LA did not wilt after going into the second period down 1-0 at the United Center, seemingly light-years away from home or even a Game 7. The Kings quickly cut the deficit and soon tied it. Chicago would tally another goal to make it 3-2 and carried that lead late into the game.
It was hard to avoid deeming it over when Los Angeles couldn’t even get the puck out of their own end in the waning minutes, unable to pull their goalie until Chicago mistakenly iced it with under 20 seconds left. But as L.A. does, they took that invitation back into the game and made the most of it, converting a beautifully designed play off the faceoff into Mike Richard‘s game-tying deflection in the final seconds.
Regardless of the fact that Patrick Kane completed his hat-trick to put L.A. away in the second overtime, Kings fans were left with plenty to be proud of from that final contest.
“Our team is highly successful because of that [resolve],” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said, via NHL.com. “There’s not much you can do about giving up bad goals. If you want to put your head between your legs you’re going to get your [butt] kicked. We don’t do that. We respond the right way all the time.”