Role players play starring role for Hawks

It will dredge up the old question of whether the Hawks can win the Cup with Crawford. No matter how well Crawford has fared statistically this season, the save he didn't make threatened to leave a deeper impression. Even Crawford called it "brutal.''

"I told myself it can't get any worse,'' Crawford said. "Be strong.''

Crawford finally regained his composure in a so-so third period that included a late goal by Damien Brunner, yet that will not be what people remember about Crawford's Game 6. People outside the dressing room, that is.

"Stuff like that's going to happen,'' Toews said defending Crawford. "It's not the end of the world.''

When skewering Crawford, keep in mind his soft goal wouldn't have mattered so much if the Hawks' power play didn't blow two golden opportunities earlier that period. But one disorganized man advantage led to another, re-energizing the Red Wings.

It contrasted with how the Hawks established a pace one would expect for a team 60 minutes from extinction. Just nine seconds into their first power play, the Hawks gained the early lead they identified as a key.

Toews won the faceoff and attacked the net, where Andrew Shaw — the Pocket Pest — obstructed Howard's view. When a rebound squirted out, Marian Hossa — remember him? — nudged the puck past Howard for what Quenneville would call a "greasy goal.''

Seldom has something so greasy been so healthy for a hockey team. Seldom have the Hawks gone any deeper — on the roster or into their reservoir of resolve — to win a clutch game.

Now the Hawks will bask in two words that once seemed implausible. And they aren't Game 7.

New life.

Twitter @DavidHaugh