The Return of the Fun: Blackhawks Return to the Stanley Cup Party

Russell McKenzieCorrespondent IApril 17, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Fans of the Chicago Blackhawks hold up a sign which reads 'Pride is Back' against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 12, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks won 3-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

"It's a great day for hockey." —Badger Bob

"I woke to the sound of drums/The music played, the morning sun streamed in/I turned and I looked at you/And all but the bitter residues slipped away...slipped away." —Pink Floyd

Tonight, the party returned to the windy city. 

All the rumours and rumblings were true, and the United Center crowd rocked the house during player introductions into the first drop of the puck.

However, through two periods, Mike Keenan had his squad playing great defense.  Through the second frame, the Flames only allowed 15 shots, and after one period they were rewarded with a 1-0 lead on a David Moss goal. 

The Blackhawks looked like a team that was all starry eyed about being at the big party.  However, they shook off a first period deficit when Cam Barker fired a blistering shot passed Mikka Kiprusoff.

Of course, in a tight game like this one, goaltending is always the difference maker.  Kipper made a sparkling save, and the Flames got their lead back at the start of the third period when Michael Cammalleri fought through the Chicago defense to bury one behind the rejuvenated Nikolai Khabibulin. 

This is not the first time these two have traded saves.  In the 2004 Stanley Cup finals, Khabibulin's Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Kipper and the Flames to take the Cup south to Florida instead of to Western Canada.

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With that said, this goalie grudge match was touched by breathtaking saves and frustrated forwards.  When Martin Havlat beat three different Flames defenders to bury the equalizer, it seemed inevitable that Joel Quennenville's squad was determined not to go quietly into the night during their re-entry into their postseason party. 

These young Hawks didn't disappoint.  With only 12 seconds, Martin Havlat scored again to send the United Center back into pandemonium.

Enjoy it, Chicago. After years of pain and suffering, you deserve it.

Now we all wait with baited breath for game two.