Not here. Not now.
"Our guys find ways," coach Joel Quenneville said Wednesday night after his team's 5-4 double-overtime victory over the Kings at the United Center. "It's a testament to their competitiveness and will to win."
When the Hawks came out for the third period of Game 5 trailing 4-3, they proved it with passion and purpose that had been missing too often during this series. They came out flying around, intent to make something happen other than the ending everybody in the building feared. They came out tapping into their collective pride and giving themselves a fighting chance.
"We wanted to play the right way," Quenneville said.
Ben Smith epitomized that approach, responding to a Brandon Saad rebound with a goal 1minute, 17 seconds into the third that tied the score at 4 and pumped life back into a building — and perhaps a season.
Michal Handzus, of all people, made it matter at the 2:04 mark of the second overtime by backhanding a pretty pass from Saad to clinch a victory that revitalized the Hawks' chances to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
"Saader gave me a great pass," Handzus said.
The man called "Zeus" did the rest, maximizing a moment that even swept Quenneville away with enthusiasm.
"I've been involved in a lot of games," Quenneville said. "That might have been the greatest overtime I've seen."
The first epic extra session included 7:56 of continuous play without stoppage. The second ended with a goal from an unlikely source that was fitting in a game full of unexpected developments. For instance, who saw the makeshift Saad-Patrick Kane-Andrew Shaw line creating enough chances to consider Saad the best player on the ice?
"What we discovered could be a line for a long time," said Quenneville, who listened to his gut in putting the group together.
Quenneville followed those same instincts in sticking with Handzus, the plodding 37-year-old who saved a day that looked lost at the 13:08 mark of the second period. On the Kings' go-ahead goal that scared Chicago with thoughts of a June without hockey, Tanner Pearson beat Corey Crawford badly from the right circle.
Blame many of the goals in this series on bad defense in front of Crawford, but this one was all on the beleaguered goalie. As great as Crawford was in both overtimes, the extra sessions would have been unnecessary if not for the fourth goal he gave up on the Kings' 25th shot.
But thanks to Crawford's teammates, a chance for redemption comes Friday in Game 6 at the Staples Center, where the Kings and their fans have been known to get under his skin. He simply can't allow it — or any more soft goals.
A long night of hockey began as well as it ended for the Hawks.
Brent Seabrook started a wild first period by scoring 73 seconds into the game on a wicked wrist shot from the blue line that buzzed by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who was screened by Shaw. The crowd of 21,871 erupted, uncorking the anxiety surrounding whether this would be the last game of the season.
Just over two minutes later, the Hawks built more confidence when Johnny Oduya cleaned up a rebound off a Kane shot. Kane created the opening, controlled the puck and picked up his first of four assists. When Kane uses his imagination to complement his ability like that, the Hawks are a different team — the team that has spoiled everyone.
They resembled that team again after the Kings cut the lead in half and Kane, an unlikely enforcer, responded with relentlessness. He aggressively back-checked Kings tough guy Willie Mitchell, and the puck ended up on Saad's stick. Saad set up Shaw with a nifty pass and was there to knock in the rebound for the Hawks' third goal in the opening 11:06. Quick looked frustrated enough to want to squirt water in a Hawks fan's face.
The Kings got back in it after two turnovers by confounding Hawks forward Kris Versteeg at the 11:08 mark of the second set up Dustin Brown's dirty goal in front of the net. When Brandon Bollig swung his stick against the glass in frustration, he spoke for an entire hockey city.
"I don't think Kris Versteeg is going to see the ice for the rest of the night," WGN-AM analyst Troy Murray said after that sequence.
It was a good call.
It was a great finish.
"Just stick with it, there's going to be a hero in here, we kept saying," Saad said of the message delivered in the dressing room before overtime. "Luckily, we got one."
Familiarly, there were many.