CHICAGO (AP) — Michal Handzus is every day of 37 years old and 15 seasons in the NHL. He knows he’s near the end of his career. He knows he’s slower than most of his Chicago teammates.

He also knows how to finish a play in a big spot.

Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime, and the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to stay alive in the Western Conference final.

Brandon Saad made a nice pass to the middle, and the oldest player on the ice beat goaltender Jonathan Quick with a backhander for his second goal of the playoffs. The Slovak center celebrated by pounding the boards behind the net as the sellout crowd of 21,871 roared.

“Saad, two guys went on him and I got open,” Handzus said. “I was surprised I got open like that but he waited and waited and gave me a great pass.”

Handzus has been all over Chicago’s lines all season long as the Blackhawks searched for a second-line center behind captain Jonathan Toews. His biggest value right now is on the penalty kill, but it was his offense that kept alive Chicago’s title defense.

“I want to help the team as much as I can,” Handzus said. “I’m playing on the PK a lot. I’m not playing very well offensively. I’m glad I came through.”

Saad had a goal and two assists to help Chicago stop a three-game losing streak. Brent Seabrook, Johnny Oduya and Ben Smith also scored, and Patrick Kane set a playoff career high with four assists.

“Personally, I thought Saader was the best player on the ice tonight,” Kane said. “He was bringing so much speed and puck protection.”

Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles.

“We go home and we come out with a better effort,” Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “We’ve got some experience and veterans in here who know what it takes to stop it.”

Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist, and Jarret Stoll and Tanner Pearson also scored for the Kings, who led 4-3 after two periods. It was Gaborik’s NHL-best 11th playoff goal.

Quick and Chicago’s Corey Crawford each stopped 40 shots.

Los Angeles was in position to advance to its second Stanley Cup final in three years before Smith drove to the net and swept in a rebound 1:17 into the third. Smith’s third goal of the playoffs set the stage for a frantic finish as both sides pushed for the winning score.

“It’s not easy,” Kings forward Justin Williams said. “Attaining your ultimate goal is never easy and we’re going to do our best to get it done.”

Quick made a solid stop on Marian Hossa in overtime, and the loose puck was swept away by the Kings. Los Angeles star Anze Kopitar had a chance to win it about 9 minutes into the first overtime but his shot went off the side of the net.

Crawford had a kick save on Stoll in the first OT after Toews turned it over in the Blackhawks’ zone.

“Overtime, I’ve seen a lot of games, been involved in a lot of games,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville, a former NHL defenseman. “That might have been the greatest overtime I’ve seen.”

Back at home for Game 5 after a disastrous stay in Los Angeles, the Blackhawks put together a terrific start. But the Kings weathered the storm and then stepped up their attack in the last part of the first period.

Seabrook, Oduya and Saad helped the Blackhawks to a 3-1 lead just 11:06 into the game. Chicago’s second line of Saad, Andrew Shaw and Kane was a headache for Los Angeles all night long, creating numerous high-quality scoring chances.

But the Kings grabbed the momentum back with a terrific sequence with 7 minutes left in the first. Quick made a great stop on Toews, and Kopitar set up Gaborik at the other end to get the Kings within one.

It was reminiscent of Game 2, when Quick denied Seabrook on a 2-on-1 and the Kings went on to score six straight goals in a 6-2 victory.

This time around, Brown had a nice rebound goal after Crawford made a great save on Gaborik, and Pearson made it 4-3 with a wrist shot from the right circle at 13:08 of second. Pearson deftly used Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson as a screen on his fourth goal of the playoffs.

Quick also had an outstanding save on Saad from inside the goal early in the second.

Pearson’s goal stunned the crowd, but it woke up again when Saad’s perfectly timed shot set up Smith’s tying score. Saad had a plus-4 rating in almost 24 minutes of ice time in one of the best games of his young career.

NBA

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Paul George went into desperation mode to salvage the Pacers’ season.

It was barely good enough.

The 24-year-old All-Star scored 21 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and inspired Indiana to fend off Miami’s late challenges as the Pacers staved off playoff elimination with a 93-90 Game 5 victory on Wednesday night.

“My message to the whole team was the light needs to be on green for all of us,” coach Frank Vogel said. “You need to go, you need to attack, you need to be aggressive. Paul took it and ran with it and took it to a crazy level.”

The most crucial shooting performance of George’s career allowed the Pacers to climb within 3-2 in the Eastern Conference finals and postponed Miami’s fourth straight coronation as conference champs. Game 6 is Friday in Miami.

It took everything in George’s repertoire to get it done. He was 12 of 19 from the field in the second half, finished with six rebounds, six steals, five 3-pointers and only three turnovers in 45 minutes.

But the Pacers also needed everything else to go right.

Four-time MVP LeBron James was limited to 24 minutes because of major foul trouble. He finished with a career playoff-low seven points, two rebounds and four assists. The Heat committed 17 turnovers, compared to just 13 for the usually turnover-prone Pacers, and Indiana had a 45-38 rebounding edge, too.

The biggest difference was George, whose 21 fourth-quarter points were the most scored against Miami in any playoff quarter. The previous record, 20, was set by Michael Jordan in May 1997.

“I just felt it. I felt in rhythm. I had to be aggressive,” George said. “I tried to come out and be aggressive to start this game off and I was getting looks. I got hot.”

George fell just short of his playoff career high, the 39 he had in Game 4 against Washington in the previous series, and was just four points short of Reggie Miller’s franchise record in an NBA playoff game.

For Miami, it was a rare stumble in an elimination game in the Big Three era. Three other times, the Heat had lost Game 1 on the road and all three times they won the next four games to close out the series. The Heat were in position to do it again Wednesday even with James’ limitations.

Chris Bosh scored 20 points, Dwyane Wade and Rashard Lewis each had 18, and the Heat made 15 of 31 3-pointers to stay within clinching distance.

After holding the Pacers to 11 points in the second quarter, only 33 in the first half and surviving two long first-half stretches without James, the Heat couldn’t hold off the Pacers when James went to the bench again with his fifth foul early in the third quarter. Yet, the Heat still had a chance to take the lead with 4.9 seconds left. But Bosh’s 3-pointer was off the mark and the Pacers grabbed the rebound.

“We still had enough opportunities to come away with a win,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump.”

Hard falls and tough plays were a theme all night for a Pacers team that had been roundly criticized for its lack of effort in Monday night’s loss. Lance Stephenson took it a step farther. At one point, he attempted to listen in on one of Miami’s huddle. At another, he blew in James’ ear.

“I’m just here to play basketball, man. All the extracurricular activities, I don’t really get into,” James said. “I’m just trying to win. We need one more win to get to the finals. That’s my only concern. All the extra stuff, whatever Lance wants to do, I don’t really care. about that.”

It looked like the Heat might clinch their fourth straight conference title Wednesday, something last done by the Celtics from 1984-87, when the Pacers trailed 50-41 with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

Then George took over.

He started an 11-0 run with a layup and ended it with a steal that he turned into a dunk to give the Pacers a 52-50 lead. Miami quickly tied it on Udonis Haslem’s layup, but George answered with a 3-pointer that sent the Pacers on a 12-5 run to make it 64-57 after three.

Indiana extended the lead to as much as 77-66 early in the fourth on another George dunk, but when James re-entered, things changed.

The Heat scored nine straight to make it 77-75, tied it at 81 on James’ only 3 of the night with 3:51 to play and twice managed to get within one in the final 76 seconds. George then hit a 3 and West made 1 of 2 free throws in the closing seconds to seal it.



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