Could the end of the 2013 lockout-shortened NHL season have ended any better? The Chicago Blackhawks went to Boston to try and overcome the odds to beat the Boston Bruins in three straight games and take the Stanley Cup home in six. It looked like there was going to be a Game 7 until Chicago scored two goals in 17 seconds late in the third period to beat Boston by one for the title.
The Bruins played their bruising, defensive game for 95 percent of the game, but the Hawks do what they do best with the title on the line: score. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was pulled in the final minute — pretty much after the game was decided — and that’s all she wrote.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane became the third consecutive American-born player and fourth ever to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. He didn’t score in the clincher, but he was the Hawks’ unquestioned MVP in these playoffs and in these Stanley Cup Finals. He was superb throughout the Hawks’ ups and down that included coming back from down 3-1 in the Conference Semifinals against the Detroit Red Wings and then beating the defending champs in five games behind a hat trick from Kane in the clincher.
The cup is back in the Windy City and after this incredible year of hockey, the only question left unanswered is: what’s next?