CHICAGO, IL — “One goal achieved.”
That was the motto of the Chicago Blackhawks, the motto that led them to yet another Stanley Cup Championship June 15.
The team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games to conquer the Cup in mid-June. The victory was the Hawks’ third championship title in six seasons, and sixth title in team history.
The win was even more special because the team won at home in the United Center, in front of thousands of the most passionate and loyal fans in hockey.
The celebration continued in Chicago with a championship parade followed by a rally June 18.
The team marched the cup through the streets of Chicago lined with groups of ecstatic fans, waiting to welcome the Cup. The parade continued with a rally that took place in Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears’ stadium. The stadium seats were filled, as well as the entire field area, with a sea of red and black.
The feeling of camaraderie and unity was felt throughout the stadium as fans awaited the entrance of the team and the Cup. During the rally, various members of the team’s front office staff spoke, as well as captain Jonathan Toews and postseason’s MVP Duncan Keith.
The road to the Cup was not easy for the Hawks, from the beginning of the season to the final game.
The Stanley Cup Final Series began with the Hawks defeating the Lightning by a count of 2-1, a tight score that would emerge as a theme for the entire series. In the first game, the teams were evenly matched. The Hawks registered 21 shots, 27 face-off wins, and killed off two power plays. The Lightning recorded 23 shots, 30 face-off wins and three power play kills. Antoine Vermette scored the winning goal for the Hawks.
Tampa Bay bounced back in game two to tie the series, winning by a score of 4-3. Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop was battling an injury throughout the game and left the game twice, but Tampa fought through the lineup shuffle for the big win.
The Lightning got their second win in a row in the third game of the series. Tampa beat the Hawks, 3-2, as Bishop played an impressive game, allowing just two goals on 38 shots.
Chicago tied the series at 2-2 in game four with another close win, 2-1. The Hawks only had 19 shots in the game but dominated with face-off wins and a good performance by net-minder Corey Crawford.
Chicago gained the series lead in the all-important game five with another 2-1 victory, giving itself a chance to win the Cup at home.
In the sixth and final game of the series, the Hawks achieved their “one goal” and won the Cup. They defeated the Lightning in stellar fashion, recording a shutout in a 2-0 win. Forward Patrick Kane and Keith scored goals for the Hawks.
Crawford had 25 saves in the net. Chicago won the championship at home for the first time since 1938. Keith was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for MVP. He is the first defensemen to win the award since 2007 and is the ninth defensemen in league history.
The Blackhawks are now regarded as a modern dynasty in the NHL, and after three titles in six years, it’s hard to argue to the contrary.