The Chicago Blackhawks ended their 49-year curse, winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961 in Philadelphia tonight, ending the Philadelphia Flyers' “Cinderella” season.
For the Flyers, watching the Hawks skate with the Stanley Cup around the Wachovia Center must have been akin to stabbing oneself in the eye with a pick-axe.
For the Hawks, their victory ends what can only be described as a miserable 61-year absence from winning Lord Stanley’s cup. With their victory, the Toronto Maple Leafs now own the distinction of Stanley Cup futility, going back to 1967 (43 years).
Many NHL analysts (including myself) predicted that whichever team won Game Five would not only hold a huge advantage going forward, but would win the Cup.
As it turns out, the Blackhawks made good on our predictions, winning the Cup in six games (which, again, I predicted) on Philadelphia’s home ice.
Truth be told, for the most part, the Flyers were overwhelmed in Game Six, as they failed to dominate down low, backed up by the Hawks’ 27-13 margin in shots over the first two periods.
The two teams exchanged goals all night long with Chicago and Philly exiting the first period knotted at one goal apiece, the Hawks leading 3-2 after two periods and Scott Hartnell looking like the Game Six hero, scoring the game-tying goal to make it 3-3 at 16:01 of the third.
Then, with the Philadelphia crowd feeling confident, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane broke every single Flyers fan's heart when he scored the winning goal (a goal that reminded me of the Sidney Crosby goal that broke the backs of Team USA at the Olympics and one that many in the crowd missed at first) to make it 4-3 Chicago.
And just like that, the Hawks erased 49 years of misery and pain, hoisting the Stanley Cup at last.
For Marian Hossa, this Stanley Cup victory was three years in the making, as he had been a bridesmaid for two years in a row before winning it all on Wednesday night.
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews—who was kept off the scoresheet for the entire series (failing to score a goal) ended up as the Conn Smythe Trophy winner—a trophy I felt Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith deserved more than Toews.
Fact is, despite Toews’ dominant performance in rounds one through three, Keith was just as dominant and was way more consistent. But, I digress...
The Flyers can hold their heads up high, but nobody in that locker room will be happy with second place—especially Flyers captain Mike Richards and “sniper” Jeff Carter—both of whom finished the series with a minus rating and void of a five-on-five goal.
I will have more to say in the near future, but for now congratulations go out to the Chicago Blackhawks for a job well done as they are now your 2009-2010 Stanley Cup Champions!
I would also like to give a shout out to Bleacher Reports own Tab Bamford, who did an amazing job of covering the Blackhawks all season long and is probably partying with the boys as I write this!
***For more NHL news, notes and playoff coverage, check out my website at www.theslapshot.com
Until next time,