There was a time in Chicago when the calendar turned to June, it wasn’t baseball on the mind of the city’s fans. The boys of summer turned out to be the Chicago Blackhawks, who in a span of six seasons, found themselves playing deep into the month of June. Three out of those four times, they skated away with the Stanley Cup.
There are certainly the standout moments. Patrick Kane’s overtime winner to clinch the Cup in 2010. Dave Bolland’s winner to stun the Bruins in 2013. Don’t forget about Duncan Keith’s goal that would stand as the GWG in 2015.
But what about some of the unsung game winners? Some that turned the tide or some notched by players tucked away amidst some cobwebs in the memory. In honor of the three Cups won, here are three game winners you may have forgotten about.
2010: Tomas Kopecky Seals Game 1 for the Blackhawks
Some of the most diehard Blackhawks fans may only recall Kopecky because he was part of the magical run in 2010. But of all the names who scored in Game 1; Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, a pair from Troy Brouwer, and Bolland, Kopecky may take some time for recall.
Kopecky had four goals that offseason but none bigger than the clincher in Game 1. Hardly known for finding the back of the net, he would only score one more playoff goal in his career. So when he glided into the low slot, imagine Versteeg’s surprise as he slid the puck across. Kopecky only had goalie Brian Boucher to beat, who he waited out to slide the puck past him. The goal sent the United Center crowd into pandemonium and would stand as the winner.
2013: Brent Seabrook Saves Chicago in Game 3
It’s likely that this one is recalled easier because it’s Seabrook and due to the magnitude of the goal. The Blackhawks were a goal against away from being down 3-1 in the series, coming after squandering three leads, including a 3-1 advantage. Seabrook powered Chicago past Detroit with an overtime winner in Game 7 of that series. He did it again with a slapper that found its way through traffic and past Bruins netminder Tuuka Rask. It was third game of the series that needed overtime and hanging on by a thread, Seabrook’s goal would turn the tide in Chicago’s favor.
2015: A Pair of Winners from Antoine Vermette
Like Kopecky, Vermette’s name isn’t one of the first to roll off the tongue as a hero of Blackhawks past. But Vermette was huge for Chicago in the Stanley Cup Final, potting the game winning goal in Games 1 and 5. In Game 1, Vermette scooped up a turnover in the high slot and snapped it past Lightning goalie Ben Bishop with just 4:34 left in the game. In Game 5, he struck much earlier in the period, scoring just two minutes in, which stood as the game winner. It also swayed the momentum Chicago’s way, sending them home a game later where they would clinch with a 2-0 victory.
Vermette buried another big goal, scoring the double overtime game winning goal against Anaheim in Game 4. Of the four he scored that playoff season, three were game winners.