BOSTON – Seventeen seconds. Seventeen ticks off the clock. Seventeen agonizing seconds that were mayhem as the Blackhawks pulled their goaltender for an extra skater in an effort to knot the contest at two.
With Corey Crawford bolting for the bench, the Hawks managed an improbable score on a nifty feed from Jonathan Toews to Bryan Bickell who banged home the game-tying marker.
Then, 17 seconds later, at 19:01 of the third, Dave Bolland batted home a rebound of a shot from the point to give Chicago a 3-2 lead.
Asked his impressions of those final 17 seconds Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said neither he nor anyone else saw those plays coming.
“Yeah, it’s kind of like the season we had. It was one of those seasons we were saying, we’re almost charmed the way we started the season and the way we ended. Nobody saw that one coming either way. A lot of great things in between, some great challenges in this playoff series or this playoff round, and then let alone the other three,” Quenneville said in the post game presser.
“But commend Boston on playing a great game tonight, and we’re very fortunate to come out of that first period down 1-0. It was almost like what happened in our building Game 2. Johnny (Toews) scored a big goal to get us back into it,” he added. “But the resiliency of our team was in place all year long. The depth of our four lines made it such a great season and a fun team to coach, as well. And the back end, the contribution and the goaltending combo we had with Corey running with it here in the Playoffs. But it was one of those seasons, fairytale ending and an amazing season.”
Quenneville described the mood and the feeling on the bench in the waning moments of the game as his team was pulling victory out from under the Bruins.
“You just want to make sure everybody knows where they’re supposed to head coming off the bench. We got to the net. Bickell had an amazing playoff round and playoff season for us. He absorbed big minutes for us. Quick, nice hands around the net. Kane and Toews along with him reuniting in Games 4, 5 and 6. I thought they were huge for us, just like they executed Games 4 and 5 against LA,” Quenneville said.
“You equalize the game there. They might have been a little tired. I could have kept them out there, but Bolland, that line hadn’t played in five or six minutes, and offensively, defensively, you know you get a contribution all year long of all four lines. No matter who you throw out there is capable of making plays. Next play on the wall, cruised back to the point one time and, bang, it’s in the net.
“Kind of the way you had to score in this whole series. The pretty ones weren’t there, it was the ugly goals that seemed to work.”
It was the play of the Hawks’ captain, Toews, that drew much of the attention in the post game press conference in the Hawks’ side of the building.
Patrick Kane (Conn Smythe winner) was understated in his assessment of the captain.
“Yeah, I knew it. I knew it maybe yesterday. He’s a great player. He’s played big in a lot of big games. He won the Conn Smythe our last Playoffs and was awesome in that Olympic gold medal game and made some big plays tonight, a big goal, a big pass to Bickell to tie it up, and he’s just a competitor,” Kane said. “That’s really all you can say about Jonathan Toews is he’s a competitor, and he leads the team in the right way, and we all follow.”
Several highlights came out of the final seconds of the game. Bolland was credited with the latest Stanley Cup-winning goal tallied in regulation time. Prior to his goal, the latest a Cup-winning goal was scored was by Boston’s Bill Carson in 1929 (18:02, third period) in a 2-1 win over the New York Rangers.
The Blackhawks became the first club to win a Stanley Cup-clinching game in regulation time by overcoming a one-goal deficit in the final two minutes.
The Blackhawks are just the third club in NHL history to win a Stanley Cup-clinching game it had trailed in the final five minutes of regulation and the first to do so in regulation time.
On the other end of the scale, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was disappointed but certainly proud of his club’s efforts and commented on the frenzy of the last minutes. He was asked what his thoughts were of the Chicago comeback.
“Well, probably toughest for sure, when you know you’re a little bit over a minute left and you feel that you’ve got a chance to get to a Game 7, and then those two goals go in quickly.
But I would probably put the Toronto comeback maybe a little crazier than that because we had to score four goals to win that game,” Julien said.
“But at the same time, it’s one of those things where you look at who you played against, and that Chicago team I think lost seven games in the regular season, and you can see why. They’re deep. They got stronger as the series went on, and they’re a great hockey club. They need to be congratulated on that.
“But at the same time, I’m going to stand here and tell you how proud I am of our team, how those guys battled right until the end. Without getting into all these injuries today because it’s not the time, we battled through a lot. You know, when you realize that you’re a couple wins away from a Stanley Cup and how those guys push through a lot of things, I have nothing but good things to say about it.”
“This is a good group of guys, and it’s unfortunate that it takes a loser in these kinds of situations, but it doesn’t take away the fact that you can be just as proud of them as their coach of your players,” Julien added.
The Bruins felt they were skating for more than just the Cup. The bombings at the Boston Marathon this year marred that event but through resiliency of the city it brought the community together and gave the Bruins’ players an added incentive to capture the Stanley Cup.
Julien was asked about that during the post game presser and he said his team was especially disappointed by the loss for not bringing the championship home to the city of Boston.
“You know, at the end of the day, I think that’s what hurts the most is in the back of our minds, although we needed to focus on our team and doing what was going to be the best thing for our team to win a Stanley Cup, in the back of our minds we wanted to do it for those kind of reasons, the City of Boston, what Newtown has been through, that kind of stuff. It hit close to home, and the best way we felt we could try and cheer the area was to win a Stanley Cup. I think that’s what’s hard right now for the players. We had more reasons than just ourselves to win a Cup,” Julien said.
Cup or not the Bruins did themselves and their city proud. Without a championship, the club represented Boston well and there is no city more honored by its sports team.
So now the off season starts with the NHL Entry Draft on Sunday 30 June. The Blackhawks will celebrate and share the Cup and the rest of the league will ponder their moves to displace the silverware from the Chi-Town.