Tuesday, June 25, 2013

2013 Stanley Cup Finals

"Reunited with old pal Toews on a line with Bickell midway through Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Conn Smythe winner Patrick Kane scored seven goals and two assists over his final eight games of the playoffs, saving his best for last en route to a second Stanley Cup in four years."
Dave Bolland's goal with 58.3 seconds remaining in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final allowed the Blackhawks to complete a historic comeback and take a 3-2 decision against the stunned Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Chicago's Bryan Bickell had tied the game 17 seconds earlier with an extra-attacker goal.

"When don't you dream about it?" Bolland asked rhetorically. "We all dream about scoring that Stanley Cup winner."

Bolland had run through this exact moment in his mind as a kid playing hockey back home in Etobicoke, Ontario. He played on the street, on ponds, at Mimico Arena and other buildings across the Southern Ontario region -- and every once in a while he would dream about scoring the Stanley Cup-clinching goal in front of thousands of people.

"Check that one off the bucket list," Bolland said.

Boston left wing Milan Lucic had scored the go-ahead goal with 7:49 remaining in the third, but Bickell scored the tying goal off a one-timer from the slot with 1:16 to play. Less than 18 seconds later, Bolland cashed in from the left post before tossing his gloves in a wild celebration although there was still almost a minute to play.

After becoming the first team in NHL history to earn at least one point in its first 24 regular-season games, Chicago is now the first team in the salary-cap era to win the Stanley Cup twice. The Blackhawks are also the first team since the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Cup in six games when they trailed 2-1 after Game 3.

Prior to 2010, when the Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup, the last time Chicago celebrated as hockey's championship city was in 1961, when legends Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull were A-list celebrities around town. Now they're ambassadors for a team that could be developing into a modern-day dynasty.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Once you win one, you can't wait to do it again, but it's a hard road. We had some great hurdles, some great ups and downs here, but what a finish. I'm so happy for the guys."

Another 76 seconds of scoreless hockey would have sent these teams to overtime for the fourth time in this best-of-7 series. The Blackhawks had other ideas.

The Bruins couldn't believe it. They thought they had Game 6 won -- much in the same way the Toronto Maple Leafs thought they had won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on May 13. Boston made the impossible become possible that night inside TD Garden, coming back from three goals down in the final 10 minutes to win in overtime.

They experienced the other side of that Monday night.

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