Hawks' victory over Kings is wow-inspiring

Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate a third-period goal on Friday night against the Los Angeles...

Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate a third-period goal on Friday night against the Los Angeles Kings. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:58 AM ET

“Wow.”

The legendary Bob Cole needed just that one word to describe Chicago’s electrifying 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference final on Friday in one of the best hockey games you’ll ever see.

And it’s a word that describes the never-say-die attitude of the defending champions, who suddenly have their leather-lunged supporters in the Windy City dreaming of a “repeat” again.

Consider this incredible stat: The Chicago Blackhawks are a combined 13-0 in Games 5, 6 and 7 over the past two years. In other words, they get better as a series goes on.

And so do their stars.

Patrick Kane, with seven points in the past two games, scores the winner. Just before that, he sets up Norris Trophy frontrunner Duncan Keith to knot the game 3-3.

And isn’t it about time that the hockey world shows some love for Corey Crawford, who backstopped the Hawks to a Stanley Cup last spring and is five games away from doing it again.

Meanwhile, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who gets far more praise than Crawford, only faced three third-period shots. Of those, the final two went in. Not exactly clutch goaltending.

And now the Kings must go into the hornet’s nest known as the Madhouse On Madison for Game 7 on Sunday night.

For the Kings to meet the Rangers in the final, they’ll have to win their third consecutive Game 7.

But these aren’t the Sharks or the Ducks, the two teams they beat in those previous deciding games.

These are the Hawks of Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford. These are the Hawks who are a combined 13-0 in Games 5, 6 and 7 in the past 13 months.

“Wow” is right, Mr. Cole.

CROSS CHECKS

This just in: If you haven’t been exhilarated by the outstanding hockey being played in this Kings-Hawks series, you don’t have a pulse ... Does anyone really think the Rangers have a shot against either of these two teams? ... Only four Kings skaters were not credited with throwing at least one hit during the first period on Friday night. Think coach Darryl Sutter gave those four a tongue lashing during the first intermission for not pulling their weight? ... Crawford and Quick had words at the end of the second period. They should have been directing their venom to the officials for allowing opposing forwards to plow into them all night ... Trevor Lewis runs over Crawford behind the Hawks net in the first period, nailing the Hawks goalie in the head. No penalty is called. Can anyone tell us why? ... The number of goalies being run into during these playoffs is ridiculous. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the NFL has altered its rules to protect quarterbacks. It’s about time the NHL does the same with goalies.

PLAYOFF HOCKEY ROCKS

Defensive lineman Justin Tuck has won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.

On Feb. 3, 2008, Tuck, then with the New York Giants, watched Eli Manning hit Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown, giving the Giants a thrilling 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Three years later, Tuck’s Giants were at it again, producing more late-game heroics with a last-minute TD to defeat those same Pats 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI,

Yet, according to Tuck, the drama in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final between the Habs and Rangers on Thursday might have trumped those.

Tweeted @JustinTuck: “I’m more nervous over this hockey game than I was in last seconds of the S Bowls.”

Such is the way the Stanley Cup playoffs — and, for that matter, the Rangers — have captured the imagination of the sporting public, not to mention New York City.

About an hour after the Rangers had punched their ticket to hockey’s big dance with a 1-0 elimination win over the Canadiens, the iconic Empire State Building was lit up in the red-white-and-blue colours of the Broadway Blueshirts.

On Friday morning, both New York tabloids — the Post and the Daily News — sported the back-page headline “Puck Yeah!”

That is so, well, New York, isn’t it?

Of course, the coup de grace of the Rangers love fest came when late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon won his wager with the Canadiens.

The payout: Fallon’s avatar will run on the Habs’ official Twitter account for a day. In addition, Youppi, the team’s fuzzy mascot, will be photographed in various locations around Montreal on Sunday in a Rangers jersey with Fallon’s name on the back.

Tweeted Fallon via @jimmyfallon: @CanadiensMTL I will contact you shortly with my demands. Never bet against New York. #GoRangers #StanleyCup #youppionamechanicalbull

Youppi on a mechanical bull? That we want to see.

LAST MINUTE OF PLAY

Let’s hope the talk is accurate that Rogers is interested in inking Cole to call games next season. Yes, he’s 80. Yes, he might get a name wrong now and then. But Bob Cole was the voice of the sport for an entire generation. And he still is. When you hear those pipes, you think hockey. Nothing else.


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