CHICAGO — Michal Handzus is every day of 37 years old and 15 seasons in the NHL. He knows he’s near the end of his career. He knows he’s slower than most of his Chicago teammates.
He also knows how to finish a play in a big spot.
Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to stay alive in the Western Conference final.
Brandon Saad made a nice pass to the middle, and the oldest player on the ice beat goaltender Jonathan Quick with a backhander for his second goal of the playoffs. The Slovak center celebrated by pounding the boards behind the net as the sellout crowd of 21,871 roared.
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“Saad, two guys went on him and I got open,” Handzus said. “I was surprised I got open like that, but he waited and waited and gave me a great pass.”
Saad had a goal and two assists to help Chicago stop a three-game losing streak. Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Ben Smith also scored, and Patrick Kane set a playoff career high with four assists.
“Personally, I thought Saader was the best player on the ice tonight,” Kane said. “He was bringing so much speed and puck protection.”
Game 6 is Friday in Los Angeles.
“We go home and we come out with a better effort,” Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “We’ve got some experience and veterans in here who know what it takes to stop it.”
Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist, and Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings, who led 4-3 after two periods. It was Gaborik’s NHL-best 11th playoff goal.
Quick and Chicago’s Corey Crawford each stopped 40 shots.
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