ONE GOAL!: GOAL ACHIEVED!
It had been a good hockey game, just like all the others in the series. A desperate Boston Bruins squad, facing elimination, had come out smoking. The first period statistics were one-sided in favor of the boys from Beantown, but one significant fact stood out: they had only scored once.
The Blackhawks caught their breath in the second period. The statistics were gradually but relentlessly evening out. And Jonathan Toew's goal made the score 1-1.
The third period was pretty even. But just before the halfway mark in the period, Milan Lucic of Boston put the Bruins ahead, 2-1. As the period wore on, I gradually became reconciled to the series going back to Chicago for an epic seventh game on Wednesday night.
As the final two minutes ticked away, the Hawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford in order to put a sixth attacker on the ice. For those unfamiliar with hockey, this is a standard tactic when your team is trailing by a goal with a little more than a minute to play and the puck is in the attacking zone. The logic is that if you don't score somehow in the next several seconds, you're going to lose- and it really doesn't matter whether you lose, in this case, 2-1 or 3-1. A loss is a loss.
It's a desperation tactic that usually doesn't work. Occasionally having the sixth attacker on the ice results in the tying goal. But most of the time the team with the lead defends successfully for the remaining minute or so, or else sends the puck across the ice into the empty net at the other hand to seal the deal.
As Crawford skated toward the bench, I got up from my chair to turn off the TV. Rather than describe what happened between the time I got out of my chair and the time I reached the television set, I'll just let you watch:
There would be no Game Seven. There wouldn't even be an overtime. In one of the most dramatic comebacks in Stanley Cup history, the Hawks had scored twice in 17 seconds! Suddenly, it was Boston goalie Tuukka Rask who was heading toward the bench so that a sixth attacker could come into play. But the Bruins- who were probably in a state of shock even deeper than mine- just couldn't get anything organized.
Suddenly, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup champions for the second time in four years, and a magical season which began with an unprecedented 24 consecutive games coming away with at least one point ended with one of the most thrilling conclusions imaginable to one of the most exciting and closely-fought Stanley Cup Finals in history.
The Boston Bruins- who would have been worthy champions themselves, and who earned a degree of esteem and respect from the Hawks and their fans that verges on the awesome even in defeat- were valiant opponents whom I think of, not as the losers of the series, but as the silver medalists.
Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe trophy as MVP of the playoffs- and promptly said that he thought that his goalie, Corey Crawford, had been robbed.
And so the scene played out before my astonished eyes for the third time in my 56 years as a Blackhawks fan: my Hawks were awarded Lord Stanley's Mug.
May it happen many times again- and soon.
I could get used to this!