It was about as dramatic of an ending as anyone could have asked for.
Game 5 of the Western Conference Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings had it all, wrapping up with what coach Joel Quenneville called maybe the greatest overtime he's ever seen.
Heading into Wednesday's matchup, the Kings were feeling confident; they had their plan all laid out to close out the series.
"This first period is going to be so important for us," Drew Doughty said prior to puck drop. "We need to get out to a lead, we need to take this crowd out of the game and completely take them out of the first period."
Turns out, that's not exactly how things worked out — well, at least not for the first few minutes of the game.
The Blackhawks got off to a textbook start, winning the faceoff, getting traffic to the net and taking the lead just over a minute into the game off a shot from Brent Seabrook. A little over two minutes after that, Johnny Oduya gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead.
Everything was coming along perfectly for Chicago. So Marian Gaborik decided to put a dent in that by getting his team on the board shortly after.
After a lot of back and forth play over the course of 82 minutes, the Kings came close to putting an end to it altogether. But it was a goal from Michal Handzus in the second overtime that's kept the series alive.
"It is what it is," Justin Williams said after his team's 5-4 loss. "We knew what we were up against. We also know what's possible in the next two games. We're going home and trying to win a game. We just fell a break short in overtime."
Down 3-1 in the series, the Blackhawks entered Game 5 a desperate team, facing elimination for the first time this postseason.
But after their strong start, the momentum started shifting to the other end of the ice and the Kings began to regain control. After suffering a two-goal deficit, the Kings went on to take a 4-3 lead off a goal from Tanner Pearson, and at the end of the second period, it looked as if the Blackhawks had some of the wind knocked out of their sails.
Things began looking awfully similar to Games 2-4 of the series, but the Blackhawks came back after the second intermission and laid it all out on the ice during the remainder of the night. It all paid off as they now prepare to head back to Staples Center for Game 6.
"They're a desperate hockey team right now and I think we have to match that," Pearson said. "They came out and played to win. We did a good job of calming the storm, we just couldn't get that last one."
Heading into Game 5, Doughty said the Kings had "all the confidence in the world."
That confidence was still alive and well inside the visiting locker room on Wednesday night, and the Kings expect their return to home ice will provide a big boost on Friday night.
Up 3-2 in the series, the Kings plan on approaching the upcoming matchup the same way.
After all, you don't fix something that isn't broken. And the Kings sure don't believe their game plan is broken.
"They're still do-or-die; we're still one win away from moving on," Pearson said. "So I think it's going to be the same attitude going in. Hopefully we come out with a victory."