Desperation can be a good thing. Especially when it’s about all you have left.

Use any cliché you want: The Blackhawks’ quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champs was on the line Wednesday at the United Center, down 3-1 to the L.A. Kings in the Western Conference finals.

And really, the Blackhawks needed some combination of desperate and dazzling to force a Game 6. Otherwise, they were simply doomed.

FIRST PERIOD

Dazzling: What’s this? Why, it's a Blackhawks power play goal! Brent Seabrook's blast from downtown beats L.A. goalie Jonathan Quick, with help from an Andrew Shaw screen.

Desperate: There the Hawks go again, dominating early. Patrick Kane puts a shot on net, which Quick stops, and Oduya does the rest on the rebound to make it 2-0, not even five minutes in. That's what happens when you flock to the net.

Doomed: The Kings. Keep. Coming. The puck somehow sits in front of the Hawks net long enough for Jarret Stoll to poke it in, and suddenly the UC is a lot less comfortable.

Desperate: Another rebound, another Hawks goal. This time it's Brandon Saad following up Shaw's shot. Joakim Noah would be most pleased.

Doomed: Ugh. There's Marian Gaborik, the leading goal scorer in the NHL playoffs, muscling one past Corey Crawford on an odd-man rush. Back to feeling queasy.

Score: Blackhawks 3, Kings 2

 

SECOND PERIOD

Desperate: Desperate meets … world-class goaltending. Brandon Saad has Quick on his back, but the Kings goalie, reaches, and extends himself enough to keep it out of the net.

Desperate: Seabrook, covering up for a teammate's giveaway, lies down in front of Crawford just in time to thwart a Kings two-on-one rush. Crawford owes him a beer.

Doomed: Crawford makes one spectacular save … but not two. Dustin Brown makes it a new game about halfway through on a rebound. What he wouldn't give for his teammates to hack the loose pucks from the front of the net.

Doomed: This is not the Corey Crawford Hawks fans have come to love. Tanner Pearson beats him with a boring shot from the right, and it might be time to start panicking. 

Score: Kings 4, Blackhawks 3

 

THIRD PERIOD

Desperate: We'll say it again: This rebounding thing works! Saad with the shot, Quick gives up a rebound, Ben Smith punches it home, Quick swears under his breath. Probably. For sure it's a tie game.