Last night, history was made on the ice at United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in game 6 to win the series 4-2, their third Stanley Cup since 2010. Yes, folks. A dynasty has been born. Over the past six seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks have been to the Stanley Cup finals 3 times. Over the past six seasons, the Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup finals 3 times. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 3 for 3. That’s pretty good.
After splitting games in Tampa Bay to start the series, the Blackhawks lost on home ice and Tampa Bay led the series 2-1. But lightning never struck the next two games and the Blackhawks soon led 3-2 with a chance to end the series and win the Cup at home for the first time since 1938.
From the very start, it just felt like Chicago’s night. The fans were ready, nearly drowning out the National Anthem with what sounded more like battle cries than cheers. “We want the cup!” echoed throughout the arena. And the guys on the ice definitely did, too. The first period was a blur of scoring chances with each team seeing pucks hit posts and slide past open nets. But no goals. At the end of 1 it was 0-0, but the Blackhawks outshot the Lightning 13-4.
The second period started and the Lightning came out hot and looking to score. Within in the first minute of the period, Steven Stamkos- Tampa Bay’s most dangerous goal scorer- had an open breakaway and a chance to take the lead, but Corey Crawford came up with a huge save. The score remained tied at 0. Still, Tampa Bay seemed in control, dominating possession and keeping the puck below Chicago’s blue line. But Chicago wasn’t on the verge of another Stanley Cup for no reason. And with 2:47 left in the second period, veteran defenseman Duncan Keith put his own rebound over Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop’s glove. The sirens went off. The scoring had begun. The Blackhawks were that much closer to victory. At the end of 2, Chicago led 1-0.
Even with a lead in the third period, the Blackhawks weren’t exactly safe. Stamkos or Callahan or Filppula or Palat could put the puck in the net at any time for the Lightning. Chicago needed another goal. With just over five minutes left in the game, Brandon Saad led an odd man rush for Chicago. Saad to Richards, Richards to Kane. Goal. It seems only fitting that Patrick Kane, one of the core guys throughout Chicago’s quest for a dynasty and the 2010 Conn Smythe winner, scored the game clinching goal. The 2-0 lead was the first time either team had been ahead by two goals during the series, and a two goal lead would be enough. At the end of the third period, the Chicago Blackhawks were Stanley Cup champions.
Corey Crawford posted the first shutout of the Stanley Cup finals by either goaltender, making a total of 25 saves. Duncan Keith was awarded the 2015 Conn Smyhte trophy. His 18 playoff assists set a franchise record for assists by a defenseman in the postseason. All three of his postseason goals were game winners.
by Ron Cogswell