Chicago, IL – Patrick Kane's goal with 8:20 remaining in double overtime, his third of the contest, sent the Chicago Blackhawks into the Stanley Cup Finals thanks to a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals from United Center.
Jonathan Toews carried the puck from the neutral zone all the way up ice on the left wing, until sliding a perfect cross-ice dish to Kane, who one-timed the series winner home from the right circle.
"It's nice to win, first and foremost. To contribute the last couple games, I think any player would be lying to you if they said it isn't nice," said Kane. "Two big wins the last couple games, especially tonight, after they came back and tied it up with nine seconds. For us to hang in there in the first overtime and pull it out in the second overtime was huge."
Duncan Keith recorded the other score for the Blackhawks, who flirted with disaster -- having wasted a 2-0 lead in the first period and a 3-2 advantage with less than 10 seconds in regulation -- but rebounded to advance to the title round for the first time since winning it all in 2010.
Corey Crawford stopped 33-of-36 shots in the triumph.
Dwight King, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards lit the lamp for the Kings, who made an heroic last stand facing elimination, but failed in their quest to become the first repeat winner since the Red Wings of 1997-98.
Jonathan Quick made 31 saves in the season-ending defeat, the longest playoff game in Los Angeles history.
"We got beat in the Conference Finals by the best team in the conference at the end of the day," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "Obviously we're disappointed to lose to Chicago, but we're certainly not disappointed in how we played."
Coupled with Boston's advancing in a sweep against Pittsburgh on Friday, the NHL championship will feature two Original Six franchises for the first time since the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers squared off in 1979.
Game 1 is slated for Wednesday in the Windy City. It will mark the first time the Blackhawks and Bruins have clashed for the Cup.
"They're on an amazing roll," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They were on the ropes in one game, we were on the ropes for three. They got a lot of momentum where they're at right now. Should set up for a great final."
The hosts moved ahead with 3:52 left in regulation on a goal which could have broken the collective backs of most playoff teams. Kings forward Justin Williams appeared to be tripped up behind the LA net by Bryan Bickell, who took advantage and pushed the puck into the slot for Kane's successful shot and a 3-2 game.
Quick was hemmed into his own zone by Chicago's forechecking pressure, and was not able to come to the bench for an extra skater until 14.4 seconds to play, but the Kings tied the game on the ensuing faceoff.
Jarret Stoll won a right-circle draw back to Slava Voynov, who pushed the puck to Kopitar along the boards. While he flipped a shot towards the net, Richards was left alone in front of Crawford for a deflection which sailed inside the near post with 9.4 seconds left.
For Richards, it was his first goal of the series in his return from a three- game absence from a suspected concussion.
In a relatively sedate and scoreless first overtime period, the visitors seemed to slowly gain momentum and carried an 11-6 shot margin.
The home crowd was riled up early, and exploded when Keith's blast from just inside the Los Angeles blue line rolled on edge and slipped between Quick's pads with 3:42 played in the first period.
It was 2-0 for the hosts at 5:59, when Kane outwaited a scramble in the crease, and managed to lift a shot past the outstretched stick of Kings defenseman Drew Doughty that hit the net just inside the crossbar.
Los Angeles crept back into the contest while shorthanded. Williams carried up the left-wing side and flipped a shot on goal while corralled by a Chicago defender. King followed behind the play and poked the loose puck through Crawford from atop the crease to make it 2-1 at the 9:28 mark of the second
Almost two minutes later, Quick flashed the left pad to stop Marian Hossa on a breakaway.
Kopitar's first point of the series was the tying goal, a power-play marker with 3:34 gone in the third period. He hung tough in front of the Blackhawks net and slid home the rebound of Jeff Carter's initial offering.
Kane's trifecta was his first in the postseason since a three-goal effort against Vancouver in a 7-5 victory during a clinching Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 11, 2009 ... Chicago improved to 9-1 at home in the 2013 postseason, while Los Angeles fell to 1-8 ... The Blackhawks welcomed back Keith after serving his one-game suspension for high-sticking Carter in Game 3 ... The Kings' previous longest playoff game was a 4-3 decision against the Vancouver Canucks on May 11, 1993 to win Game 5 of a Smythe Division semifinal ... Los Angeles last participated in a double-overtime game on May 6, 2001, a 1-0 victory against Colorado in Game 6 of a Western semifinal ... Chicago's last foray into double-OT occurred on April 20, 1997 in a 4-3 win against the Avalanche in Game 3 of a Western quarterfinal ... Attendance was 22,237.