The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions. It was not easy, but they defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 to claim the most prestigious trophy in all professional sports.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews showed grit, returning one game after he got his “bell rung” and could not finish Game 5. Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville put Toews and Patrick Kane, the Conn Smythe winner, back together in Game 4 and the dynamic tandem showed the chemistry and resiliency that has made them great, leading the Blackhawks to three straight victories. The Blackhawks are also the first team in the salary cap era to win two titles.
Boston was under heavy fire for their lack of enthusiasm in Game 5. They came out in Game 6 playing like they had something to prove. They completely dominated Chicago in the first period and took a 1-0 lead when Chris Kelly smacked a snapshot passed goalie Corey Crawford. Chicago is actually very lucky the period ended with them trailing by only one goal. Boston received two power play opportunities, but luckily for Chicago they never capitalized on it. Both teams were excellent on the penalty kill throughout the Stanley Cup Finals.
The second was a tad better for Chicago and their captain Jonathan Toews tied it up only four minutes into the period. Chicago had two more penalties, including a very soft roughing call on Andrew Shaw at the 2:24 mark. But once again Boston could not score. It was almost as if they were trying to give away the game. Chicago was practically handing them the game with their horrible play and penalties, but Boston could not take advantage of them. The period ended 1-1 and fans were facing another possible overtime.
Both coaches must have given incredible intermission speeches because the third was filled with great hockey. But when Milan Lucic scored for Boston at 12:11 to give them a 2-1, Chicago refused to give up and their efforts paid off. Then everything literally changed with only 76 seconds left in the game.
Crawford headed to the bench to give Chicago an extra attacker and all of a sudden Chicago decided to put immense pressure on Boston’s goalie Tuuka Rask. With only 76 seconds left in regulation Bryan Bickell put one passed Rask to tie the game 2-2. Spectators could just see the relief on the face of the players that they had the opportunity to win it in overtime.
But Chicago was obviously not thinking about overtime. Lord Stanley’s Cup was in the house and they wanted it now. Boston was not paying attention and simply allowed Chicago to take the puck into Boston’s zone. 17 seconds after the tying goal Dave Bolland scored the winning goal. After the lamp lit Bolland threw off his gloves and his teammates attacked him, but there was still 58.6 seconds left in the game. Boston pulled Rask for the extra attacker, but it did not work. Chicago kept the puck by their blue line or the neutral zone and eliminated any chance of Boston tying the game. Here are the two goals:
Chicago managed to play their best hockey with only 76 seconds left in the game, but that is when it matters the most. When the clock struck 0:00 the Chicago players erupted and skated to their zone to celebrate with Crawford. The bench emptied as players embraced and cried. Here is a video of the team celebrating: