Stanley Cup Finals: 5 Reasons Why Chicago Blackhawks Won the Title
5 Reasons Why Chicago Blackhawks Won the Stanley Cup
From start to finish, the Chicago Blackhawks were the best team in the NHL. Starting the season with a NHL record 24 straight games in which they earned a point, Chicago seemed destined to win the Stanley Cup. They coasted their way to the best record in the regular season, giving them the President's Trophy and home ice throughout the playoffs.
Before reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, the only test they really faced was the Detroit Red Wings. In round two of the playoffs, Detroit had the Hawks down 3-1 in the series before Chicago rattled off three straight wins to finish them off in seven games.
Both the other rounds against the Minnesota Wild and the Los Angeles Kings only went five games before Chicago advanced. The Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the Blackhawks would turn out to be an epic series and one that many would classify as the best ever. Three of the six games went into overtime and four of the six were decided by one goal. As a matter of fact, Game 5 could be considered a one-goal game as the third goal came on an empty net with less than a minute to play.
Obviously, it's easy to point to a lucky bounce here or a heads-up play by a certain player when looking back on the playoffs. This, however, is a list of five things that helped put Chicago over the top and has them hoisting the Stanley Cup.
During the regular season, Chicago led the league in scoring and in the playoffs, they were able to get the goal when they needed it most. Brent Seabrook netted two overtime goals for the Hawks and in the clinching game, the Hawks scored two goals in 17 seconds to seal the victory.
Although Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy, an argument can be made that Chicago wouldn't be Stanley Cup Champions without the play of goalie Corey Crawford during the playoffs. Crawford had an incredible 1.84 goals against average in the postseason. Tuukka Rask got much of the attention because of what he did against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it was Crawford who matched him save for save in the Finals.
Of the 16 teams in the playoffs, only the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals had a better penalty killing percentage than the Blackhawks. Chicago killed off 90.8 percent of the power plays they faced.
Winning the President's Trophy
Obviously, winning a President's Trophy for having the best record in the regular season isn't going to guarantee you a Stanley Cup Championship. Chicago, however, was able to use the momentum gained in the regular season and carry it into the playoffs, not to mention the fact that they had home ice throughout the entire playoff run.
Coach Joel Quenneville had his team ready to play each and every game this season, and it showed as they stepped onto the ice. More than the coaching staff, though, the veteran players led this team each and every night. Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane led by example as they punished opposing goaltenders all season.