Comments from the Blackhawks Michal Handzus and Patrick Kane following Chicago’s double-overtime win in Game 5…
Q. Talk us through the game winner there at the end.
HANDZUS: I was in the neutral zone. Obviously Kaner and Saad did a great job. They had a lot of patience. Saad kind of kept the puck, two guys on him, got open.
Q. There were a lot of questions throughout the series about your playing status. Have you felt disappointed in what you’ve brought this series?
HANDZUS: Yeah, I want to help the team as much as I can. Obviously I play on the PK a lot. I didn’t play very well offensively. So, yeah, I wasn’t very happy with my play.
Q. Do you think that’s why he kept you in, your resilience, veteran knowledge?
HANDZUS: Well, I don’t know. I mean, obviously I’m glad that I come through. It’s one game only. I know I got to get better. Hopefully it helps me. It’s, you know, a question for Q.
Q. On that play, how did you end up on that line? It was in the middle of the shift. Were you surprised when Q said, Go out there?
HANDZUS: No, I thought we played — even in the first overtime I played with Kaner a lot. He was double-shifting a little bit. I think I had maybe four or five shifts, I was with Kaner. I was ready for any shift, yes.
Q. How long has it been since you’ve seen like a stretch in that first overtime period, seven minutes without a whistle?
HANDZUS: I didn’t even realize. When I saw the timeout was three minutes left, I knew that’s probably why, there was no whistle. It was very entertaining for fans. I thought it was a great game all around. Then overtime I thought was very entertaining, up and down, a lot of chances. I thought it was very interesting.
Q. Pretty memorable night considering everything. Coach said it was the greatest overtime he’s ever seen.
HANDZUS: It was a great game. Obviously a lot of emotion. I thought fans were great. It was as loud as I can remember here. You know, we put everything on the line. Obviously it’s a big win, but in playoffs you got to stay even keel. It’s only one game. We still 3-2 down. We got to go there and do the big job, win one over there.
Q. Saad said Handzus had some speed going into the middle. How gratifying is it for you after all these years in the NHL that you’re described as having speed?
HANDZUS: I think he slowed down, so maybe it looks like it (smiling). I was surprised, too, that I got open like that. He had a great heads-up play that he waited, waited, bring the guys to him, then just made a great pass.
Q. Do you have to stay positive just knowing that you can be that kind of contributor and come through when needed?
HANDZUS: Yeah, you still have to have a lot of confidence in yourself. Like I said, I’m not real happy how I played. But just got to be confident. It’s a lot of fun to be playing in the playoffs. It’s Conference Finals. You cannot just look at yourself all the time, be down, be disappointed. You just got to be positive. If you don’t want be positive, then probably you won’t get out of the slump or anything. I stay positive. I’m better player than I showed. I try to show it next game again.
Q. I’m sure emotions are pretty high right now. You’re still down 3-2. Do the guys know they have to put this one away pretty quickly?
HANDZUS: Yeah, that’s what I said. Got to stay in the playoffs, stay even keel. You cannot get too high, too low. Obviously it was a big game, elimination overtime, we won it. 3-2 down, going to their building. We got to get prepared. Take a deep breath, get prepared. Travel day tomorrow. Just get ready for it.
We know they going to be hungry over there. Just got to be ready for the game.
Q. Patrick, we talked to Saad earlier today about you and him and Shaw getting together. Talk about what you brought tonight.
KANE: Yeah, I thought our biggest thing going into the game was trying to get pucks back, create off the turnovers in their end. Saw that a few times, especially on Saad’s goal. We had a couple other plays we did that, too. It was a fun game playing with them, too. They’re both extremely hard workers. Personally I thought Saad was the best player on the ice tonight. He was bringing so much speed and puck protection. He was awesome tonight.
Q. You’ve been pretty candid the last few days talking about wanting to do more, feeling you could. What does a game like that mean to you?
KANE: Well, it was good. I think my teammates made me look good out there, to be honest with you. You know, it’s a huge win for us. It’s always nice to contribute. That’s kind of the mindset going forward here, you know, for the rest of the series, the rest of the playoffs. Try to contribute any way you can every night, whether it’s on the score sheet or any other way you can. So it was a good start.
Q. You’ve played a lot of high-intensity hockey in your career, Stanley Cup Finals, Olympics. A lot of people have talked about how great that overtime period was. Can you put that in perspective with all the big events that have happened in your career?
KANE: Tonight? Like the first overtime?
KANE: I thought it was an unbelievable period. Up and back the whole period. A lot of chances. I think we probably had more chances than they did in overtime. But a lot of times you thought the game was over, especially for us. So it was a really fun period to play in. I know they cleaned the ice there at 10 minutes. I don’t think they ended up cleaning it till like 3:50 or something on the clock. Not a lot of whistles. Just up and back. It was a fun period of happy.
Q. Handzus was in here saying he hasn’t had the greatest playoffs. Having him have the ending that he did, how is that for everybody?
KANE: He’s a warrior. He comes to play every night and does whatever he can to be in the lineup, whether he’s injured or not. We seen that last year with the amount of injuries he had, how he brought something every night. He had some huge goals in last year’s playoffs. We know he’s capable of scoring those big goals. Probably none bigger than tonight with the game on the line. I knew he has a great backhand. It was a great shot by him. I’m sure he’s happy about that one as well as the team.
Q. Momentum is tough to define. Do you take momentum to L.A.?
KANE: It was back and forth with momentum tonight. Obviously we had a great start, then they came back and tied it, got the lead. Smitty with the huge goal to make it 4-4. I think the rest of the game we had most of the momentum, and that led to us scoring the fifth and final goal. You see momentum in the series, how it can shift. L.A.’s had a lot of it. I think it’s our turn now to hold onto it and keep that momentum.
Q. What was your thinking when they went up 4-3?
KANE: I don’t think we were nervous. We knew we had a whole period to, you know, try and get one back. It worked out that we got one early, so it made things a lot better.
Q. How much in a game like tonight does simple pride, who you are, what you are as a team, play into what happened tonight?
KANE: Yeah, I think it’s a special group. I think we know that in the locker room. Seems like in a lot of these games we find ways to win whether we should or not. I thought we carried the play for most of the play tonight. I thought Crawford was really good in net. He made the big saves in overtime when he had to to give us a chance to try to end it. It’s a great group of guys. Obviously we have a lot of experience and know what it takes at this time of year. I think we’re very comfortable in that locker room with one another.
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