It seems only fitting that the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs ended in dramatic fashion. 27 games went into overtime during the playoffs, including three games during the Finals. Five of the 15 playoff series went the full seven games. The Finals ended in six games, with four of them being decided by a single goal. The other two games were decided by two goals.
Without a doubt, the Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins was the best playoff series I’ve ever watched. Goalies Corey Crawford and Tuukka Rask battled back and forth against each other and matched save for save.
In Game 2, Chicago outplayed Boston but because of Rask, and Boston won the game in overtime. In the same respect, Boston outplayed the Hawks in Game 6 but Crawford kept Chicago in the game.
As a matter of fact, Chicago was destined to host Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals when Boston took a 2-1 lead with less than eight minutes to go. It wasn’t until the Hawks pulled Crawford with less than a minute and half in the game that the impossible became reality.
With 1:16 left in the third period, Bryan Bickell was able to beat Rask and tie the game. The Hawks went crazy while everyone in black and gold seemed stunned. As the Bruins were trying to figure out what happened and as they were preparing for overtime, Chicago had different plans. 17 seconds after Bickell’s goal, Dave Bolland found a spot behind Rask and Chicago took a 3-2 lead.
As Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Michael Handzus were skating the Stanley Cup around the TD Garden in Boston, the Bruins were trying to figure out what just happened. This series was destined for seven games. With the Boston Marathon victims in attendance, everything was set up for Boston to send this game back to Chicago.
For 59 minutes, Boston dominated this game. If it wasn’t for Crawford making save after save, these teams would be on a plane headed for Chicago to settle things on Wednesday night.
In 17 seconds, though, Chicago went from selling Game 7 tickets to planning a parade through downtown. Boston will question what they could have done differently to win the Stanley Cup and unfortunately, there has to be a loser in every series. Chicago was the best team in hockey all season long and it seems only fitting that they won the Championship.
Unfortunately for the NHL and hockey fans around the world, the series ended in Game 6. I think I speak for everyone — except maybe Blackhawks’ fans — when I say I wish we had one more game.