This is Chicago’s third Stanley Cup since 2010 and their first home Cup win since 1938.
The series had been remarkably close going into Game Six, but the Blackhawks came to win and didn’t give Tampa an inch in the deciding game. Even Patrick Kane came alive for Chicago, netting the 2-0 goal and lightning up the ice everywhere he went.
There was very little room for the Lightning and the team struggled to generate offence, but in the end it was Chicago who took home the first two-goal lead of the series.
The Blackhawks rode momentum all the way into Game Six, containing Tampa at all the right moments. They held Steven Stamkos without a goal, won critical faceoffs and held the line when it mattered most.
Tampa did have forward Nikita Kucherov in the lineup despite what looked like a Game Five injury, but it didn’t seem to matter much. The Triplets line was mostly intact but ineffective against the Blackhawks in the Finals, though they did have one heck of a run leading up to the big series. Tyler Johnson’s 23 points led the post-season going into Game Six.
Tampa netminder Ben Bishop revealed that he was playing with a torn groin, so…ouch. He had 30 saves in the loss, having missed the end of Game Two and all of Game Four in the Stanley Cup Final.
But in the end, Chicago’s best players were better than Tampa’s best players.
Jonathan Toews closed out his series and his playoffs with more terrific play, winning faceoff after faceoff and producing points. He becomes just the fourth player since 1984 to have captained a team to three Cups. He joins some pretty elite company with Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman and Scott Stevens.
And then there was the Conn Smythe-winning Duncan Keith, who scored the opening goal in Game Six and earned every single accolade thrown his way. He was on the ice in every critical situation and remained defensively sound even while rushing up the ice. He was easily Chicago’s best player and his efforts doubtlessly led to the Cup victory. Also worth noting, Keith becomes the first defenceman since Scott Niedermayer in 2007 to win the Conn Smythe and the ninth defenceman in history to do the job. The other eight are all in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Toews and Keith are now just the fourth players in history to have won three Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals.
Whether or not this Cup win makes the Blackhawks a modern day dynasty is a matter of some debate and we’ll certainly dig into that this summer, but the victory sure feels good right now and this is certainly a team for Chicago to be proud of.