Ranking Blackhawks vs. Bruins Finish Among Greatest in Stanley Cup Final History

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2013

Ranking Blackhawks vs. Bruins Finish Among Greatest in Stanley Cup Final History

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    The Chicago Blackhawks know how to close the show.

    Less than two minutes from being forced to play a seventh game back home at the United Center, the Blackhawks rose up and scored the tying and winning goals just 17 seconds apart to stun the Boston Bruins and win the Stanley Cup.

    The Blackhawks had a remarkable season in 2013, and perhaps, the most amazing aspect of it was the way the season finished.

    The Stanley Cup Final has a history of memorable finishes. Here's a look at the 10 greatest.

10. Boston Bruins over St. Louis Blues, 1970

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    The Boston Bruins overwhelmed the St. Louis Blues in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final. After rolling through wins in the first three games of the series, the Bruins were poised to sweep the Blues and win their first Stanley Cup since 1941.

    They would get the victory, but it would not be easy. The Blues, in their third year of existence, pushed the Bruins hard in Game 4 and sent the game into overtime.

    That's when Bobby Orr scored "The Goal." If it's not the most famous in hockey history, the image of Orr flying over the ice surface after batting home the Stanley Cup clinching goal is hockey's most famous picture.

    Orr took a pass from Derek Sanderson in front of the net and wristed it through goalie Glenn Hall's legs, as he was tripped by St. Louis defenseman Noel Picard.

    The image of Orr flying through the air will live as long as they play hockey.

9. Philadelphia Flyers over Boston Bruins, 1974

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    No expansion team had ever won the Stanley Cup prior to the 1974 Stanley Cup playoffs.

    The Philadelphia Flyers were not supposed to change that script, since they were going up against the Boston Bruins. The Flyers had Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and superb goalie Bernie Parent, but they did not appear to have the firepower to compete with Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and the Big, Bad Bruins.

    However, when the Flyers won in Boston in Game 2 on Clarke's overtime goal, they put themselves in a position to take the Stanley Cup by winning their home games. They won Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia before the Bruins showed life in winning Game 5 in Boston.

    The Bruins came at the Flyers hard in Game 6, but Parent's superb goaltending allowed Rick MacLeish's first-period goal to stand up. He made key saves on slap shots by Ken Hodge (1:45 mark) and Bobby Orr that allowed the Flyers to hold on and win the Stanley Cup.

8. Montreal Canadiens over Chicago Blackhawks, 1971

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    The Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks had traded home-ice victories through the first six games of the 1971 Stanley Cup Final.

    Game 7 looked like it would follow the same pattern, as the Blackhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead. But instead of collapsing on the road, the Canadiens came to life. Jacques Lemaire fired in a goal from just over the blue line that dipped under the glove of Blackhawks goalie Tony Esposito shortly before the end of the second period.

    The third period saw the Canadiens break the Blackhawks' hearts. Henri Richard scored two goals, and that gave Montreal a 3-2 victory and allowed them to skate the Stanley Cup around the Chicago Stadium.

7. Dallas Stars over Buffalo Sabres, 1999

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    The Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres played an epic series in 1999. The two teams played a tight series that featured four one-goal games, including two that finished in overtime.

    The Stars went into the sixth game in Buffalo leading the Sabres 3-2. Sixty minutes was not enough to decide the game. Neither would a first or second overtime.

    In the third overtime, Brett Hull would jump on a loose puck and knock it past Buffalo goalie Dominik Hasek. The win gave the Stars their first Stanley Cup in the team's history.

6. Colorado Avalanche over New Jersey Devils, 2001

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    The Colorado Avalanche were in a difficult position in 2001 after dropping the fifth game at home and falling behind 3-2 in the series. They had to go to New Jersey to win a game and keep the Devils from clinching the Stanley Cup.

    The Avs did that, blanking the Devils 4-0. However, the job was not finished. They had to win at home in Game 7 if they were going to win the Stanley Cup and let Ray Bourque lift the chalice for the first time in his storied career.

    The Avs completed the comeback with a 3-1 win. The drama was primarily about Bourque. He had been close many times in his career with the Boston Bruins, but he never had the opportunity to lift the cup.

    Captain Joe Sakic got to hoist the Stanley Cup first after receiving the trophy from Gary Bettman. He quickly called over Bourque, who took the trophy and pressed it over his head with ease.

5. New York Islanders over Philadelphia Flyers, 1980

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    The New York Islanders would win four straight Stanley Cups between 1980 and 1983.

    They started that dynasty by beating the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. The Islanders took a 3-2 lead back home to the Nassau Coliseum and were hoping for a clinching party.

    They dominated the game for long stretches and led 4-2 after two periods, but the Flyers pushed the game into overtime with two third period goals. However, the Islanders won the game in the extra session when veteran winger John Tonelli sent a perfect pass to a streaking Bob Nystrom.

    Nystrom deflected the pass into the upper reaches of the net, and the Islanders captured a 5-4 victory and their first Stanley Cup.

4. Chicago Blackhawks over Philadelphia Flyers, 2010

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    The Chicago Blackhawks had not won the Stanley Cup since 1961 when they took on the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 championship series.

    The Blackhawks, led by young stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, had a 3-2 lead as the series returned to Philadelphia. The Flyers were determined to send the series back to Chicago for a seventh game, but the Blackhawks wouldn't let that happen.

    With the score tied in overtime at 3-3, Kane got the puck on the left side. He skated in two strides and shot the puck from a sharp angle. It got under the pad of Philadelphia goalie Michael Leighton, but nobody seemed to know it because the puck got wedged under the skirt of the goal and nobody could see the black disk.

    However, Kane knew that he had scored, and he began a celebration that was joined by his teammates and the city of Chicago.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins over Detroit Red Wings, 2009

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins faced a major obstacle in the seventh game of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. They had to play a powerful Detroit Red Wings team that had won the championship the previous year by beating the Penguins in six games.

    Beating the Red Wings at the Joe? That seemed too much to ask. However, role player Max Talbot scored two second period goals to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.

    The Red Wings would mount a charge in the third period, as Jonathan Ericsson scored with 6:07 remaining. The Red Wings mounted thrust after thrust on Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, but he stopped them all, including a spectacular blast by Nicklas Lidstrom with seconds remaining.

    That allowed the Penguins to raise the Stanley Cup after a heart-stopping finish.

2. New York Rangers over Vancouver Canucks, 1994

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    "1940, 1940, 1940."

    The chant reverberated around visiting NHL buildings for years. It was a mocking mantra, reminding the New York Rangers that they had not won a Stanley Cup since that year.

    As the decades rolled by, the frustration in Madison Square Garden was palpable. However, the 1994 Rangers had a powerful team. They had earned a spot in the Stanley Cup Final with an epic seven game triumph over the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Final.

    They took on the Vancouver Canucks in the championship series. With the decisive game at Madison Square Garden, the Rangers had a late 3-2 lead. The Canucks were charging, desperate to send the game to overtime. As the final seconds agonizingly dragged by, the Rangers were left with a faceoff in their own zone.

    If they could win the draw, they could pull the puck into the corner and end their 54-year drought. If not, the Canucks would likely get off a solid scoring opportunity against Mike Richter. New York center Craig MacTavish won the draw, and the Rangers celebrated like it was ... 1994.

1. Chicago Blackhawks over Boston Bruins, 2013

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    The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins were playing an epic series, matching the speed and skill of the Blackhawks with the strength and power of the Bruins.

    The Blackhawks had a 3-2 lead going into the sixth game at the TD Garden. They had two overtime wins, while the Bruins had one. There appeared to be little difference between the two teams.

    A seventh game seemed to be a sure thing, as the game reached the final moments with the Bruins holding a 2-1 lead. However, Jonathan Toews worked the puck out of the corner and made a perfect pass to Bryan Bickell, who slammed home the tying goal with 1:16 left.

    Instead of settling for overtime, the Blackhawks pressed even harder on the gas pedal, and Dave Bolland picked up a loose puck near the goal 17 seconds later and sent it into the net. The Blackhawks had turned defeat into a remarkable 3-2 victory.

    It gave the Blackhawks their second Stanley Cup in four years and broke hearts all over New England.

    It was the greatest finish in the history of the Stanley Cup Final.