By Brad Vandenberk
The Chicago Blackhawks strolled into Boston on Monday night with Lord Stanley on standby. Those players who were members of the 2010 Hawks Stanley Cup championship team rallied the troops who have previously never been on the cusp of grasping the Cup.
Although Jonathan Toews was sat for all of the third period in game 5, he was declared 100% and ready to go on the morning of game 6. In the other dressing room, Patrice Bergeron also left game 5 with an unknown injury. He was dressed and ready to play in Monday’s match. All of those Corey Crawford critics seemed to disappear after game 5, where he nearly posted a shutout. It was time for the Hawks to end the series and the season and raise the Stanley Cup.
The opening period saw all Bruins, all the time in the Hawks zone, working the forecheck. Patrick Kane, Toews and Bryan Bickell’s line led the way for the visitors. Dave Bolland hit Jaromir Jagr awkwardly and the veteran winger heads to the bench. Dan Paille catches Bickell coming off his bench and puts him on the ice. With the Bruins mounting a flurry of attacks, Crawford stands tall on the goal line.
At the 12:41 mark the Hawks have trouble clearing their zone and the Bruins seize the opportunity. Tyler Seguin grabs the puck out of the air sending to his stick and sliding it across to Chris Kelly, who makes no mistake and gets TD Gardens bouncing 1-0.
Boston gets the first power play of the game when Johnny Oduya hooks Kelly. Crawford takes a literal pounding, taking pucks to the mask but killing the penalty. Andrew Shaw takes a puck right off the kisser and lays on the ice. He left the ice for repair but did return. Jagr was noticed to be on the bench taking a few shifts off. Before the period ended, Michal Rozsival clips Brad Marchand with a high stick. Crawford again stands tall and the period ends with the Bruins up 1 and leading 12-6 in shots.
Shaw was back on the Hawks bench after repairs. Jagr is seen coming out for 1 shift in the second but quickly returns to his room. Bruins get their 3 power play of the game when Shaw mixes it up after the whistle and goes off for roughing.
During the man advantage, Seguin seems to kick a puck back to Bergeron. The refs see it as a hand pass and the faceoff comes outside the Hawks’ zone. Jonathan Toews loses the ensuing draw but forges ahead with determination and beats Zdeno Chara along the wall to the loose puck. Toews puts himself on a 2 on 1 with Kane shorthanded. He looks off Kane, keeps the puck and sends a shot through Tuuka Rask’s legs tying the game at 1-1.
After the goal, why wouldn’t you take another penalty? Brent Seabrook gets called for tripping. It didn’t worry the Hawks who killed off their 4th power play and we are not even half way through the game.
Viktor Stalberg continues to play for his new contract, skating right after Chara. He bounces off the 6’9’’ monster. Bergeron is starting to look hurt. Finally the Bruins are shown the penalty box door. Seguin tries to stop a speedy Brandon Saad and gets busted for hooking. Now it’s Rask’s turn to shut the door on the Hawks power play robbing Bickell on the front door. Both teams head to their rooms tied at 1-1 with one period left.
Hawks come out flying right away to open the final frame. Jagr is also spotted back on the ice. Crawford makes some key saves early on to keep the game knotted at 1-1. Duncan Keith fires a far shot on net that Rask has trouble with but still makes the save. Patrick Sharp starts to get going with some great zone play alongside Michal Handzus. Sharp then chooses Marian Hossa with a chance on Rask. Bruins come back the other way with Paille and Seguin both getting chances on Crawford, but to no avail. He also stands tall and comes out to take a point blank Chara slapper. Good thing it went wide.
The buzzing Bruins pay off. The clock read 7:49 and Milan Lucic is left out in front all alone and buries a shot off the goal post, then Crawford, and in, igniting the crowd once again 2-1.
Hawks catch a break when Kelly high sticks Nick Leddy. This would be a great time to tie the game up. The Bruins penalty kill was aggressive and didn’t allow the Hawks to even gain the zone.
The Hawks are now looking at facing game 7 back at home in Chicago. Just wait one second, there is still 1:25 left.
With less than 90 seconds to go in regulation, and down a goal, Crawford heads to the bench and the extra attacker comes out and furiously enters the Bruins zone.
Toews digs a puck out of the corner and heads right to the net dishing a pass across to playoff hero Bickell. He finds the back of the net and the Hawks tie it up at 2-2.
Just when you think you’re going to see 19 overtimes, the 4th line of the Hawks come onto the ice. Bolland grabs a puck and flips it over to Frolik on the wing. He fires a shot on net and Marcus Kruger grabs the rebound sending it back to Oduya. His shot rings off the post, but Bolland is there to put home the rebound and the Hawks take the lead just 17 seconds after their tying goal. Bolland throws his gloves off thinking he has just won the cup but there is still 58 seconds left on the clock. The crowd is stunned, but not the bus loads of Hawks fans!
Toews almost breaks away for the empty net goal to no avail, but it does not matter as final horn on this NHL season sounds….
Your Chicago Blackhawks are 2013 Stanley Cup Champions.
-Hawks outshoot the Bruins 31-25
-Hawks for 0 for 2 on the power play with the Bruins going 0 for 4.
-Keith led all Hawks with 28:51 TOI. Oduya next in line 23:56
-Toews went 12 for 20 in the faceoff dot.
-Patrick Kane wins the Conn Smyth as the most valuable player in the playoffs.
-Chara was a minus-6 in the series.
-The Hawks have won their 2nd Cup in just 4 years.
-Lots of speculation after the game that this was quite possibly Jaromir Jagr’s final game in the NHL, if he does not retire altogether.
-Thanks to Chris, Jon and Brad for sharing such a historic championship year.
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