WARR’s hockey writer Sidney Brown offers his takes on the Blackhawks throughout their postseason run
GAME. SET. CHAMPIONSHIP!
For the third time in six years, the Chicago Blackhawks are the Stanley Cup Champions defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 to clinch the series 4-2. Blackhawks fans have been waiting to celebrate a championship on home ice since 1938 and the sellout crowd at the United Center witnessed an historical moment that will last for a lifetime.
The men in red came out on fire setting the tone just like in Game 5. Although no goals to show for it and a 0 for 2 power play, the Hawks effort was displayed with their 13-4 shots on goal advantage. The second period began with a breakaway attempt from Lightning sniper Steven Stamkos, who hasn’t scored a goal in this series, but Hawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped Stamkos stone cold with an incredible save. The Hawks carried the momentum from that save and were rewarded courtesy of Duncan Keith who scored his 3rd goal of the playoffs (17:33) off a perfect pass from Patrick Kane giving the home team the 1-0 lead.
The 3rd period saw the Lightning bring a strong push tallying 14 shots on goal and goalie Ben Bishop stopping two attempts from Marian Hossa creating momentum early. The Hawks stayed patient and capped off the night with their second goal of the game and Patrick Kane delivered (14:46) his 11th goal of the playoffs off a textbook pass from Brad Richards giving Chicago the 2-0 victory and the championship. The Hawks stepped up defensively once again not just blanking Tampa Bay but created 7 takeaways, blocked 25 shots and held a 42-20 advantage in the faceoff department.
Corey Crawford saved his best for last pitching a shutout and stopping 25 shots posting a perfect save percentage. Ben Bishop should be given a medal for his outstanding effort for the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final. It was revealed after the game that Bishop was playing with a torn groin and his performance in Game 6 should be held as courageous stopping 30 of 32 shots and posting a .938 save percentage.
Give Tampa Bay credit for making this a series for the Hawks and with this experience along with their youth, the Lightning should be taken seriously as a Stanley Cup contender for years to come. In Chicago’s case, it was a team effort in winning the 2015 Stanley Cup. In order to win it all, you need all four lines, great special teams and a great goaltender to work together as one. Chicago became the first team to win 3 Stanley Cup’s in a six year span since the Detroit Red Wings did it between 1997-2002.
The one question that surrounds the Hawks is are they a dynasty? I say yes due to the fact that this feat is being done during the salary cap era which this franchise had to adjust following the 2010 championship and will have to do it again this summer. The only other team that has won multiple Cups are the Los Angeles Kings (2012, 2014) and they barely missed the playoffs this season and may face some tough decisions themselves this offseason.
Enjoy this championship run Chicago, you may never see anything like this again, especially in the game of hockey.
TB — Steven Stamkos with 8 hits
CHI — Bradon Saad with one assist
CHI — Brad Richards with two assists
CHI — Johnny Oduya with 7 blocked shots
TB — Steven Stamkos with 0 goals for the series
TB — Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov with 0 points combined
CHI — NOTHING. THEY’RE THE CHAMPS!
To NBC for cutting away from the Blackhawks celebration once the passing of the Stanley Cup began going off the air and continuing on their cable network NBCSN like it was no big deal. I remind Hawks fans that NBC did this back in 2013 in Boston following the Game 6 victory.
For all the money that NBC has paid to televise NHL games, the least they can do is show the passing of the Cup in its entirety along with the team picture on center ice. It’s tradition and it shouldn’t be interrupted. The higher ups at NBC Sports clearly dropped the ball and the issue needs to be exposed and addressed.
Hawks Run On Duncan
Defenseman Duncan Keith joins elite company in becoming one of the few who have both won the Conn Smythe Trophy and scored the Cup-clinching goal.
2015 — Duncan Keith (CHI)
2008 — Henrik Zetterberg (DET)
1988 — Wayne Gretzky (EDM)
1982 — Mike Bossy (NYI)
1973 — Yvan Cournoyer (MTL)
1972 — Bobby Orr (BOS)
1970 — Bobby Orr (BOS)
1965 — Jean Bellveau (MTL)
What We Learned In This Series
You can get beat in many ways by the Hawks — with their high tempo speed game and puck possession. This series was about defense and the Hawks stayed committed to shutting down the Lightning’s top scoring lines leaving superstar Steven Stamkos with 0 goals and one assist for the series. Chicago stayed patient with Tampa Bay bringing the big hits and strong structured defensive game.
The Hawks picked their spots and exploited weaknesses in the Lightning’s scheme operating offensively in Tampa’s zone creating scoring chances. For the final time Hawks fans (some of you), when the pressure heats up, Corey Crawford answers the bell and even though he’s not a shutdown goalie, with great players in front of him, he makes key stops when need be keeping his team in games.
Finally, the Hawks role players should be given standing ovation with the likes of Teuvo Teravainen, Antoine Vermette, Kris Versteeg, Brandon Saad and Andrew Desjardins because it was these guys who helped carry the team when Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were struggling offensively early in the series proudly making names for themselves.
The most important thing that we should learn is that when you think that the Hawks are down and out, they have enough fight with their experience to pull out of any situation.
Series Leaders (Final)
Goals: Teuvo Teravainen (CHI) — 2
Points: Teuvo Teravainen (CHI) — 4
Goals Against Average: Corey Crawford (CHI) — 1.69
Hawks Playoff Leaders (Final)
Goals: Patrick Kane (11)
Assists: Duncan Keith (18)
Points: Patrick Kane (22)
Penalty Minutes: Andrew Shaw (36)
Goals Against Average: Scott Darling (2.22)
No more games! Only celebration!
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