LOS ANGELES -- Remember about a week ago when Patrick Kane admitted he was a little bummed that he hadn't yet come up with the big play at the big moment in the Western Conference finals?
Yeah, well those days officially are over because Kane was Kane in the biggest game of the season, and now the Blackhawks are 1 victory from a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final.
Kane sparked a late rally Friday night with an assist on Duncan Keith's game-tying goal midway through the third, and then put on a stickhandling clinic before burying the game-winner in the final minutes of the Hawks' 4-3 victory over the Kings.
"It's unbelievable; I looked at him -- I think it was about a minute left and I think there was a stoppage of play -- and I almost started laughing," Jonathan Toews said. "It's amazing what he can do in these big games, when our season is on the line and nobody else seems to be able to do it the same way he does it.
"It's pretty amazing."
Kane, who opened the Hawks scoring with a power-play goal in the second period, now shares the NHL lead with 4 game-winning goals through 18 playoff games.
Care to guess whom he shares the lead with?
"You know that when it comes down to crunchtime -- him and Johnny -- I don't really know if there's two other guys I'd want to have on my team," Keith said.
Since trailing the Kings 3-1 in the series heading into Game 5, Kane has pretty much put the team on his back with 2 goals and 5 assists in the Hawks' 2 straight wins.
"The 2 goals in the third were a result of giving Kane time and space," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "That's what happens. We've been doing a good job on him. The last two games we've let him off the hook a little bit.
"That's why he's the type of player he is."
Kane's heroics capped a two-game span between these two heavyweights that has featured some simply scintillating hockey.
"These last two games have been pretty wild, to say the least," Kane said. "I'm sure it's fun for the fans to watch."
"It was kind of an emotional roller coaster, then Kane stepped up and did what he's done all season for us in big moments," said Ben Smith, who gave the Hawks a 2-1 lead in the second with his fourth goal of the postseason.
"That's the kind of guy he is. He works so hard, he prepares so well, and I think he's ready for these moments. He's been in a lot of these moments because his teams have had a lot of success.
"He just rises to the occasion. We're lucky he's on our side and he's doing what he does in these big moments."
It probably shouldn't have been too big a surprise that the hawks pulled it out Friday. They are 13-0 in Games 5-7 of a playoff series over the last two postseasons and 11-1 in Game 6s since 2009.
It doesn't hurt that the defensing champs had some serious motivation heading into this one.
"I don't think anything motivates you like having your back against the wall," Toews said. "Potentially walking into a game where your season might end. I think every single guy in this room thinks about that, lets it sink in a little bit, and we realize how great this opportunity is."
And now they'll have the chance to close out this series, but they'll be up against a Kings team that has already won Game 7 on the road twice this postseason.
"We've been in this spot a few times and we know how to deal with it," said Drew Doughty, who was to the Kings what Kane was to the Hawks. "We're ready to win a game at the United Center.
And the Hawks are ready to do exactly the same.
"It's exciting to be able to push it to Game 7 and give ourselves an opportunity to continue this comeback," Keith said. "We're going to have to be at our best … there's no other way to put it."