The Chicago Blackhawks are your 2013 Stanley Cup champions.
In one of the most awe-inspiring endings in NHL history, the Blackhawks pulled out an improbable road comeback to defeat the Boston Bruins, 3-2, Monday night at TD Garden. With the win, they pick up the series victory at 4-2.
UPDATE: Tuesday, June 25, at 11:30 a.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
President Barack Obama's Twitter account sent the following message to the Blackhawks.
---End of update---
Regardless of which team you were rooting for, one thing is undeniable—that was one heck of a way to end the season.
The Blackhawks were trailing 2-1 with just 1:16 remaining in regulation. In a span of 17 seconds, however, Chicago managed to score two goals and take the lead. The score stuck and resulted in Chicago's second Stanley Cup title in the past four years, capping off an extraordinary season with an incredible feat.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews led the charge, scoring a goal and picking up a key assist late in the game. Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland added goals for Chicago, while Duncan Keith, Johnny Oduya and Michael Frolik all tallied assists.
Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic picked up the goals for Boston to continue a strong Stanley Cup Final for the two individuals. Tyler Seguin, Daniel Paille and David Krejci finished with an assist apiece as well. When it was all said and done, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP.
So, how did it all transpire?
The action started early, as Boston's best Stanley Cup line of Kelly, Paille and Seguin continued to step up in a major way. At the 7:19 mark of the first period, Kelly found the back of the net to make it 1-0 Bruins. Seguin and Paille tallied assists to give Kelly his second goal of the playoffs.
The score remained 1-0 at the end of the first, as Boston dominated possession and Tuukka Rask held down the fort. It won 17 of the first 24 faceoffs and doubled Chicago's shots on goal.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the main story. A very scary moment transpired during the opening period when Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw took a puck to the face. Fortunately, he returned to the game.
Though Rash stood strong early as the Hawks assumed control of possession in the second period, Chicago broke through at the 4:24 mark of the frame. Toews broke into open ice with a 2-on-1 and went between Rask's legs to make it 1-1, showing great resiliency and recovery after his hard Game 5 hit.
Both teams stepped up defensively, as they remained scoreless throughout the remainder of the second. With Rask stopping Chicago's power play—what else is new?—and Corey Crawford making some key stops, the game stayed at 1-1.
And then Crawford made a disastrous mistake. He took the puck at the back of the net, but Lucic emerged and gained control to subsequently put Chicago in a 2-1 hole.
With just 1:16 remaining in the third period and facing a 2-1 deficit, the Hawks needed a miracle to send it to overtime. Rather than sending it to an extra period, however, they ended up winning the game.
Pandemonium ensued in front of the net, with none other than Toews coming up with the loose puck. With no hesitation, the captain rifled it over to teammate Bryan Bickell for the leveling goal.
Just 17 seconds later, Frolik put the puck on net and Johnny Oduya deflected it right off the post. With both sides standing around with the assumption that the puck went in, Dave Bolland stepped up. With a flick of his wrist, he put the visitors up, 3-2, with 59 seconds remaining.
It was a stunning turn of events, to say the least. But, perhaps, it was only fitting. The Presidents' Trophy-winning Blackhawks, after all, set a record for their season-opening points streak, proved that depth was their greatest weapon, and displayed a never-say-die attitude all year long.
Until next year, the Chicago Blackhawks are your Stanley Cup champions.