The 2013 Stanley Cup Final was truly one for the ages. Two Original Six franchises, the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, were set to go toe-to-toe for the Stanley Cup. Both teams were looking to claim their second Cup of the decade, as the Hawks had won in 2010 and the Bruins had claimed victory in 2011.
The series got off to a hot start, as three of the first four games of the series required overtime to determine a winner. Andrew Shaw famously won game one at the brink of midnight in triple overtime. Boston’s Daniel Paille tied the series with an overtime winner of his own in game two.
The Bruins won game three in regulation, shutting the Hawks out 2-0. Game four was a wild one, featuring back and forth scoring until Brent Seabrook ended it in extra time to send the series back to Chicago tied 2-2.
Patrick Kane took over game five, scoring two goals in their 3-1 victory. The Hawks were one win away from their second Stanley Cup in four seasons. The stage was set: TD Garden in Boston could play host to the Hawks Stanley Cup celebration.
There was one looming question for the Hawks coming into game six: would captain Jonathan Toews be playing? Toews missed the entire third period of game five after taking a huge hit. Toews powered through and suited up for the Hawks and even opened the scoring for them.
That took some time, however, as Boston dominated the first period. They led 1-0 at the end of the opening frame, but if not for a huge effort from Corey Crawford, the game easily could have been over. Boston won 17 of the first 24 faceoffs. They also doubled up the Hawks shots on goal.
Fortunes didn’t appear to be on the upswing early in the second period, as Andrew Shaw took a roughing penalty to put the Hawks shorthanded. As the penalty expired, (as the official score states) Jonathan Toews scored to tie the game. He really scored with one second remaining on the penalty kill but was not credited with a shorthanded goal.
Nevertheless, the Hawks had found their legs and were ready to make a game of it. When you get to this stage of the season, everyone is hurt and efforts need to be amplified. Toews was banged up. Marian Hossa wasn’t 100%. Dave Bolland was ironically getting healthy for the first time all season. Andrew Shaw was briefly knocked out of the game after taking a puck to the face in the first period. Shaw’s face was bloodied and the laceration required stitches, but Shaw quickly returned.
With very few guys at 100%, everyone needed to step up. Corey Crawford kept the Hawks alive for most of the game. The game remained tied until Milan Lucic gave the Bruins the lead with seven minutes remaining in the third.
Boston held the lead with under two minutes remaining in the game. It appeared this series would be going to a seventh game. Not so fast. Joel Quenneville pulled Crawford to get the extra attacker. Michal Handzus joined Toews, Kane and Bryan Bickell on the ice and chaos ensued.
Championship effort. Kane knifes his way through the Bruins defense and gets the puck in deep, to allow Crawford to get off the ice. Duncan Keith and Toews battle on the boards to free the puck. Toews lifts a stick, Kane picks the puck up, plays it to Keith, Keith to Toews, Toews to Bickell, tie game.
So, for the fourth time this series, the game was heading to overtime, right? That’s what anybody who was being honest thought. 9.5 times out of 10, when you tie the game with the extra attacker, it sends the game to overtime. Fortunately, nobody told Dave Bolland that.
One number and one word that every Blackhawks fan will forever hold near and dear to themselves: 17 Seconds. After being down a goal with under two minutes to play, it appeared game six was lost. 17 Seconds later, the Hawks had captured victory from the hands of defeat.
Championship effort. Dave Bolland knows a thing or two about it. He has two Stanley Cup rings to his credit. And now, he had his signature moment: a Stanley Cup-winning goal.
Mike “Doc” Emrick is not only the greatest announcer in hockey, but he is the greatest announcer in sports. Only he could say “hasn’t happened yet though” in regards to overtime occurring moments before Bolland gave the Hawks the lead. Blackhawks radio announcer John Weideman always offers greats calls as well, and his rendition of 17 Seconds also deserves to be heard.
After Bolland gave the Hawks the lead, the Cup was being polished, but the Hawks still needed to fend the Bruins off for 58 seconds. It was the Bruins turn now to pull their goalie and play with the extra attacker, as Tuukka Rask headed to the bench.
After a series of clearing attempts, Brent Seabrook played the puck up the boards and to center ice. Toews was there to knock the puck deep into the Bruins zone. The clock had hit zero. For the second time in four seasons, the Blackhawks had won the Stanley Cup.
The raw emotion in the voices of Weideman and his partner Troy Murray is what makes their call special. Two guys at the top of the Garden calling a great game, while also rooting for the Hawks to hoist the Cup as strongly as anyone in the building.
Corey Crawford had finally proved his doubters wrong. He probably should have been awarded the Conn Smythe for his efforts, but losing to Patrick Kane is never a bad thing. Crawford was so excited, he decided to draft up the greatest victory speech in Chicago history.
Moments like these deserved to be soaked in as much as possible. Some fans wait a lifetime to watch their team win a championship. Hawks fans had just seen their second in the last four years. At this point in time, there was nothing better than being a Hawks fan.
Parents of athletes dream of moments like this. Watching their sons on the ultimate stage and ultimately becoming the ultimate: a Stanley Cup Champion. While nobody calls a game on the national stage quite like the great Doc Emrick, no station covers hockey quite like Canada’s CBC. The CBC network was able to capture live reactions of the players’ family members. And in an effort to soak everything from this championship in, this is the cherry on top.
Watching the Bickell and Crawford family lose their minds as 17 Seconds unfolds in unmatched. Seeing Bryan Bickell’s mother cry as her son skates the Cup around the ice is as special of a moment as any. A dream was launched for many of these guys when they were skating on frozen ponds during their childhood. That night in Boston, for many of them, a dream became reality.
As the cameras pan to the crowd, you can see a lot of red in the crowd. A “Let’s Go Hawks” chant breaks out as the Cup is being passed around. The Garden is typically painted black and yellow from the Boston faithful. Not that night, however. Not with the Blackhawks in town poised to raise the cup. That night, Boston was painted red, as roses were abloom in the Garden.
Featured Photo: Michael Ivins/USA Today Sports