It was eight years to the day that the Chicago Blackhawks won its third Stanley Cup in six years, and it’s sixth in franchise history. After escaping a 2-1 deficit, Chicago rolled off two straight wins and capped it off with a 2-0 shoutout on home ice.
The euphoria experienced in Chicago was the first championship at the United Center since the 1997 Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in six games. In the 90’s it was a Bulls town. In the half decade of the 2010’s, the Blackhawks had the city’s heart.
Here are three things that stood out in a Game 6 that saw some familiar heroes and an unsung one or two.
Corey Crawford Stands Tall for Blackhawks
Crawford doesn’t always get his due, and it’s unfortunate because Game 6 was not only a shutout, but saw a stingy Crawford keep the Lightning off the board despite some incredible chances to take the game. Steven Stamkos was denied several chances, but none bigger than on a breakaway in the second period just a minute in. Stamkos raced to a puck that was chopped up the ice and had all day–it was next to silent in the United Center with 20,000 plus sucking in their collective breath.
Crawford made the first stop, and then sprawled out to deny Stamkos a second time. It kept the game scoreless and the Blackhawks would get on the board later in the period.
Duncan Keith Gets the Game Winner
With just over two minutes left in the second period, it was only fitting that the Blackhawk wearing #2 scored on a second chance opportunity. Patrick Kane held the puck just over the blue line and waited for help. Keith flew into the zone and ripped a shot at the net that Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop saved but kicked back out. Keith blew past tired Lightning skaters low and deposited the rebound into the back of the net, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead. The goal would stand as the game winner and the party had begun.
Patrick Kane Seals It With the Help of Saad and Richards
Fending off another Lightning attack in the third with 5:24 left. Brandon Saad chipped the puck away and out of the zone, turning the tables into a three-on-two the other way. Brad Richards was the trailer and Saad dropped it back, now with Kane waiting to Richards right, calling for a shot. Now a two-on-one shot, Richards sailed a no look pass to Kane, drawing the defenseman and Bishop to him, leaving Kane all alone with a wide open net.
Kane, of course, buried it and the celebration was fully on in Chicago. The Blackhawks would take the game and the series and skate around the United Center with the Stanley Cup, the first time they held the Silver Chalice on home ice since the 1938 championship team defeated Toronto.