Staten Island, N.Y. - Let me first just catch my breathe here. WOW, what a tremendous series by both of these teams. & To believe people can say hockey is boring or not interesting? Uhhh. Okay, back to hockey, ultimately there could only be one winner. Your 2013 Stanley Cup Champions, The Chicago Blackhawks.
Talk about a game that kept you on the edge of your seat. Regardless of who your favorite team was you found yourself holding your breathe, sweating, and maybe even close to passing out.
I think everybody, including the Blackhawks, knew that the Boston Bruins were going to come out firing on all cylinders. I mean lets face it, its the Stanley Cup and you’re in a must win game on home ice. TD Garden was LOUD, very loud and it seemed like the Boston Bruins used that energy to propel themselves to an outstanding first stanza. With nearly 13 minutes left in the first period the Bruins found themselves with an offensive zone face-off. Tyler Seguin won it but the puck was like a pinball, Torrey Krug pinched in to try and keep it in but ultimately Seguin was the one who got a stick on the puck and got it to Krug. Krug then flipped it up to Seguin who was near the hash marks. He gloved it, threw it down and sitting back door was Chris Kelly who put one past Crawford to put the B’s up 1-0. The pressure didn’t end there. They kept pushing the pace and taking it to the Hawks’. When the horn sounded ending the first period, I’m sure the Blackhawks were happy to be down only 1. Boston finished the period with 12 shots on goal and a staggering 21 scoring chances. Yes folks, you read that correctly 21 in ONE period. Talk about “weathering the storm” by Chicago.
Almost 20 minutes later the teams hit the ice to begin period number 2. This period seemed a little more balanced. Still very wide open with great opportunities on both ends of the ice. Eventually just as a penalty to rugged forward Andrew Shaw expired Johnathan Toews snapped one right through the pads of Tuuka Rask on a 2 on 1 rush with Patrick Kane to tie the game at 1. Back and forth these two teams went. Then a scary moment happened for the Blackhawks. Bruins forward Shawn Thornton picked up a puck at center ice and carried into the zone. Right as he came over the blue-line he threw a shot towards the net that glanced off Shaw’s stick and hit him right up around the eye. Blood spewed out on contact and Shaw laid motionless on the ice for a few seconds. Luckily, he would later return to the game all stitched up and ready to go. I’m sure he’ll be in a heap of pain come morning time when that soreness kicks in though. After some more wonderful playoff hockey, another period was in the books. Shots after two were 18-15 in favor of Boston.
Could this have been the last period of hockey we all watch until October? We’d have to wait through 20 more minutes of hockey to decide that. The third, much like the first two continued on at a very high pace. Until about 8 minutes left in the period when 2 costly turnovers wound up in the back of the Chicago net. First on a dump in, Corey Crawford went to play the puck and it was knocked down by Boston forward, Nathan Horton. As he tried to play it back behind the net, Duncan Keith intercepted the pass but fanned on the clearing attempt and David Krejci found the black piece of rubber on his stick. He threw it out in front and was knocked down out of mid-air by a stick and left right in front of Milan Lucic. Lucic then buried it and put the Bruins up for the second time in the game, 2-1. As expected Chicago put on pressure. 7 minutes is a long time in hockey, especially the Stanley Cup Final. With about 4 and a half to go, Bruins forward Chris Kelly took a high-sticking penalty to send the Hawks to the PP. The Hawks were dreadful in the series (1-20) but its always a big moment. Boston did a great job killing the penalty, not even letting the Blackhawks muster a shot until about 3 seconds left in the advantage. With 1:30 to go in the game, Patrick Kane carried the puck from his own blue line through 3 Bruins players. Granted, it doesn’t sound like much but any other forward would normally get stopped on the entry & if he doesn’t do that what happens next, well, probably doesn’t happen. After a shot on goal the puck trickled into the corner, after a clearing attempt Kane stopped the puck along the boards and swung it to Captain, Johnathan Toews. He then sent a beautiful pass threw the crease to forward Brian Bickell who again put who through the 5 hole of Tuuka Rask to knot the game at 2 with 1:16 remaining. Boston was on their heals. Just 17 seconds later, a shot by Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya was deflected and rang off the pipe, but as it sat so perfectly behind Rask it just needed a tap. Enter, Dave Bolland. He was sitting right next to the net when the shot hit the post and fought off a check to bury the puck. 3-2 Hawks. My Oh My! They shut the door in the last minute to seal the deal on a great effort by Toews and Co.
I get the feeling this will be one of those Classics you see on the NHL Network 20 years from now. What an incredible series by 2 incredible teams. Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks!
- Patrick Kane is your Conn Smythe winner.
- Crawford turned aside 23 of 25 shots for the Blackhawks.
- Rask stopped 28 of 31 for the Bruins.
- Boston 0/4 on the PP in the game.
And now the misery of having no hockey to watch for a while sinks in. Is it October yet?