The Stanley Cup Final is playing out unusually tight. Yet, it's the norm, what has become standard, that continues to win out.
The Chicago Blackhawks, who haven't lost a series tied at 2-2 since before their recent proliferation of championships, seized a third-period lead for a third time in the series, and are now on the brink of winning their third Cup in six seasons following a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Here are three things we learned from Game 5:
Coming in, this series was always about the superstars - never the goalies. But after five games, and with the likes of Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos, and Patrick Kane still muted, it's the performance of Chicago's netminder that has made all the difference.
The Blackhawks win, seemingly without fail, when Corey Crawford plays well.
For as much of a story Tampa Bay's crease has been, it's grown immaterial. Whether it's Ben Bishop, Andrei Vasilevskiy, or a combination of both, the Blackhawks have managed to produce either two or three goals per game. On the other side, Crawford has allowed one goal in each of Chicago's three wins, and has stopped better than 96 percent of the shots faced in those victories.
Yet, like the goaltenders before him, the shutout still eludes Crawford. Petr Mrazek - who did it three times - is the only goalie to shut out the Lightning through their 107 games this season.
The Lightning had cured what had ailed them.
With two wins in Detroit and Montreal, and three in New York, Tampa Bay - the best home team in the entire league - was doing what it hadn't, and what is required to survive in the playoffs - win games on the road.
But the Lightning lost the touch on their serve.
With their fourth loss in their last five games at Amalie Arena, the Bolts, who went 32-8-1 at home in the regular season, saw their postseason record on their own sheet dip below .500. They are now 6-7 at home, 8-4 on the road, and facing elimination for the third time in these playoffs.
They will have to win multiple road games in all four series just to force a Game 7 for the Stanley Cup, which, perhaps unfortunately, would be played on their own sheet.
Winning the Cup is hardly a novel concept to fans of the Blackhawks and players alike. Eight skaters, along with one of the most robust fan bases in the sport, will have a chance to celebrate a trifecta.
But, aside from an elderly few, it will be an entirely new experience if Chicago can close it out Monday at the United Center.
The Blackhawks, who have won five Stanley Cups in their history, have only kissed the mug twice in the state of Illinois - the last coming 77 years ago.
With one more win, the team that has provided their fans with incomparable, dynastic success over the last half decade, could serve up the biggest treat to date.