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Chicago Blackhawks win Stanley Cup with two goals in 17 seconds
The Chicago players who’d been on the ice gathered in the corner, while those on the bench began jumping up and down. It was only a minute later, with Boston’s Tuukka Rask off for an extra man, that the Blackhawks withstood the final push and swarmed over the boards, throwing their sticks and gloves across the ice.
“I don’t think there’s any question, even though — let’s face it — today was a little bit of luck, we’re still the best team in the league,” Oduya said. “We proved that during the year, and we proved that during the playoffs. Lot of things have to break right for you, they did tonight, but sometimes the great teams make their own breaks.”
The Bruins got 28 saves from Rask, who was hoping to contribute to an NHL title after serving as Tim Thomas’ backup when Boston won it all two years ago.
“It’s obviously shocking when you think you have everything under control,” Rask said quietly, standing at his locker with a blue baseball cap on backward and a towel draped over his shoulders.
The sold-out TD Garden was chanting “We want the Cup!” after Milan Lucic’s goal put the Bruins up 2-1 with eight minutes left, but it fell silent when Boston coughed up the lead. The team came out to salute its fans as they streamed out of the building for the last time, from the air conditioning into the summer air.
“Probably toughest for sure, when you know you’re a little bit over a minute left and you feel that you’ve got a chance to get to a Game 7,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “And then those two goals go in quickly.”
The arena was almost empty — except for a few hundred fans in red Blackhawks sweaters who filtered down to the front rows — when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman handed the 35-pound Cup to Toews, who left Game 5 with an undisclosed injury and wasn’t confirmed for the lineup until the morning skate.
The Chicago captain skated with the Cup right over the crease in which the Blackhawks mounted the comeback and in front of the fans in Blackhawks sweaters who lined up along the front row behind the net. Toews banged on the glass while the remaining Bruins fans headed up the runways.
He then continued the tradition of handing it from player to player before the team settled to the side of the faceoff circle for a picture with the trophy they will possess for the next 12 months.
Just like in 2010, they won it in a Game 6 on the road.
“In 2010, we didn’t really know what we were doing. We just … we played great hockey and we were kind of oblivious to how good we were playing,” said Toews, who scored his third goal of the playoffs to tie it 1-1 in the second period, then fed Bickell for the score that tied it with 76 seconds to play.
“This time around, we know definitely how much work it takes and how much sacrifice it takes to get back here and this is an unbelievable group,” Toews said. “We’ve been through a lot together this year and this is a sweet way to finish it off.”
The Blackhawks opened the season on a 21-0-3 streak and coasted to the Presidents’ Trophy that goes to the team with the best regular-season record. But regular-season excellence has not translated into playoff success: Chicago is the first team with the best record to win the Cup since the 2008 Detroit Red Wings.
The Blackhawks went through Minnesota in five games and Detroit in seven, rallying in the Western Conference semifinals from a 3-1 deficit and winning Game 7 in overtime. They got through the defending NHL champion Los Angeles Kings in five games to return to the Cup finals, where Boston was waiting.
Chicago won the first game at home in three overtimes but dropped Game 2 — another overtime — and fell behind 2-1 in the series when it returned to Boston.
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