Hawks' Cup win caps off magical season

The Chicago Blackhawks pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of...

The Chicago Blackhawks pose with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of their NHL Stanley Cup Finals hockey series in Boston, Massachusetts, June 24, 2013. (REUTERS)

ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:34 AM ET

BOSTON - From the opening game, to triple overtime dramatics and everything in between, it was a Stanley Cup classic.

And you knew that no matter how this best-of-seven slugfest ended, it wasn't going to come easily.

So on cue an fitting of the thriller that it was, the Chicago Blackhawks captured the Cup for the second time in four years, doing so in as dramatic a manner as possible.

The Bruins were less than a minute and a half away from forcing a Game 7 back in Chicago on Wednesday night before miraculously exiting TD Garden with a 3-2 Cup-losing loss.

Instead of a near certain Game 7 scenario, Chicago’s Bryan Bickell tied it with 1:16 left on the clock and his bantam teammate with the Toronto Red Wings, Dave Bolland, won it with 59 seconds remaining.

"You can't write the script any better," said Hawks forward Patrick Kane, who was voted the Conn Smythe winner as the playoff MVP. "Two times in four years. Two goals in 17 seconds.

"You think you're going back for Game 7 and you score two goals to win it in regulation. This team has had that resiliency all year."

Resiliency and resolve, just like their game opponent, which felt the opposite emotion of their opening-round series when they scored two late goals and won in overtime to eliminate the Leafs in Game 7. As long ago as that victory seems, it was impossible not to compare and contrast when the Cup was paraded around the very same ice.

"We've done it to somebody else so we got to feel how it feels to be on the other side," said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. "I guess that sums it up pretty good.

In the aftermath, the injury report was a casualty list so long that it was incredible the two teams could put on such a spellbinding show through six games, three of which went into overtime.

Perhaps playing on fumes, the Bruins came out determined to make it go the distance and when Milan Lucic scored the go-ahead goal at 12:11 of the third to throw the TD Garden into a frenzy, it looked like it might just happen.

But the Hawks had other ideas and when Bolland banged home a rebound off a Johnny Oduya post shot, the Hawks had clinched their second title since 2010.

And they did it by defeating the past two champions – the Bruins from 2011 and last year's victors, the Los Angeles Kings.

It was the perfect and perhaps fitting conclusion to a season in which the Hawks dominated on the way to winning the Presidents’ Cup Trophy as the best club during the 48-game regular season.

The series was so riveting, in fact, that it helped erase so much of the hard feelings from the lockout that almost ruined the season, sending hockey fans, players and owners on a wild ride over the past 12 months.

On their way to the title, the Hawks did it on offence at times but with perseverance throughout. This was a team that trailed the Red Wings 3-1 two series ago before hitting another hot streak.

“You work so hard for almost two months and then you finally get one game where the Cup’s going to be in the building and you have a chance to win it,” said Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, who played in the clincher despite being held out of the third period of Saturday's Game 5.

“Then all of a sudden all of these thoughts start running through your head all day. I hardly slept last night.

“I felt the same way as I did in Game 6 in 2010. 'We better win it tonight because I can’t take any more of this stress.'"

Neither team played like they were over-stressed. Other than the poor ice created from a steamy late June day in Boston, the game was contested at a rollicking pace from the outset.

Big hits, end to end action and ultimately the punctuation of a conclusion that will be placed among the great finishes in the history of the Cup.

That the winner came from a grinding winger at the right place at the right time was somehow fitting as well.

"We knew we were going to win it," said Bolland, who celebrated on the ice with his father afterwards. "Maybe not in regulation, but we knew we were going to win it.

"When don't you dream about it? We all dream about scoring that Stanley Cup winner to hoist the Cup, so check that one off the bucket list."


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