The bigger the game, the better Patrick Kane plays.
The guy who scored in overtime in Philadelphia four years ago to give the Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup in 49 years was at it again Saturday night on the game's grandest stage in the Stanley Cup Final.
Kane scored 2 goals to back the rock-solid goaltending of Corey Crawford in a 3-1 win over Boston that moved the Hawks within a game of another championship.
Ahead 3-2 in the series, the Hawks can capture their second Stanley Cup in four years Monday night at TD Garden.
The Hawks finished the game without captain Jonathan Toews, who didn't play a shift in the third period because of what Hawks coach Joel Quenneville called an upper body injury.
Toews, who never left the bench for the third period, took two big hits in the head area from Bruins defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara before leaving.
“We're hopeful he'll be ready next game,” Quenneville said. “We'll see how he is (Sunday). I checked on him a couple times; I think he wanted to play.”
Both teams ended the game without their best player as Boston's Patrice Bergeron was taken to the hospital for observation after the second period for an undisclosed injury.
Boychuk felt his hit on Toews was legal.
“I came across and read it and hit him,” Boychuk said. “I tried to hit him clean and I thought it was. I don't know how he fell, awkwardly or how he fell. I'm going to try and play physical and he's going to drive the net like he's supposed to and I'm going to hit.”
Asked if he was concerned about a possible hearing, Boychuk said: “No. I'm pretty sure it was clean.”
Toews' teammates were glad just have him on the bench.
“It's always good to have Johnny, if he's not on the ice, just to have him there with the team,” defenseman Duncan Keith said.
Kane scored late in the first period and again early in the second to give Crawford all the offense he needed.
Kane got his first goal at 17:27 of the first period on a rebound tuck of a Johnny Oduya point shot.
Kane got his second goal and ninth of the playoffs at 5:15 of the second period on a rebound of a wraparound try by Bryan Bickell, who made a nice power move to the net.
“I think I was in the right spot at the right time tonight on both goals,” Kane said. “I thought I had some other chances, too, I could have scored. But I think playing with Johnny and Bicks, they create a lot of space, and I've been taking advantage of the space they do make.
“I think everyone wants to be that guy in big-time games, and I've been lucky enough in a couple to step up.”
There isn't a player in the NHL who looks more comfortable with the puck on his stick than Kane.
“He's dynamic with the puck,” Keith said. “There's no guy I'd rather have going down the ice with the puck and following the play than him.”
That's 3 goals in the last two games for Kane.
“He's very good at kind of finding those quiet areas and sliding into the right spot,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “That's why he's a good player and scores a lot of goals. We just maybe have to have a little bit more awareness around our net because both goals were scored the same way.”
The Hawks claimed they aren't even thinking they are 1 win away from another Stanley Cup.
“We know the situation, but we're not going to get ahead of ourselves,” Keith said. “There's a lot of sacrifice to be made yet. We're excited about this opportunity.”
“I'm sure guys are going to think about it, yeah,” Brent Seabrook said. “Absolutely. It's the Stanley Cup. But we've got to try to put that in the back of our mind and we know we have a job to do and we've got to get a big start and be ready to play on Monday.”
The Bruins came fast and furious at the Hawks in the third period, getting a goal from Chara at 3:40 on a rocket past Crawford from the left faceoff dot.
The game wasn't decided until Dave Bolland scored into an empty net with 14 seconds remaining.
Boston won Games 6 and 7 from Vancouver in 2011 when it won the Stanley Cup.
“It's do or die, but we've been there before,” Julien said. “Our goal now is to force a Game 7, but to do that you've got to win Game 6.”
The Hawks held the Bruins to 5 shots in goal in the second period.
“It's been a war. It's been a battle,” Quenneville said. “It's every game, every shift you're fighting for every kind of shift around the ice. You look at every minute from Game 1 to where we're at today, it's been an amazing series, and relentless hockey. I commend the guys on both teams for leaving it out on the ice.”
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