CHICAGO — Showing off their grit and determination, the Chicago Blackhawks finally put away the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final.
The city of broad shoulders, strong enough to carry the silver trophy once again. A Windy City party 77 years in the making.
Duncan Keith scored in the second period and directed a dominant defense that shut down Tampa Bay’s high-scoring attack, and the Blackhawks beat the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 on Monday night for their third NHL title in the past six seasons.
“It doesn’t feel real right now. It’s unbelievable,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Feels like a dream. Every time we do it, it gets better and better. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, helping the Blackhawks clinch the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938. Corey Crawford, who was pulled from Chicago’s first-round series against Nashville, had 25 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout.
Keith was a unanimous selection for the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP after he finished with 21 points while playing over 700 minutes in a grueling postseason.
“We just seem to get better and better every year,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “We’ve been lucky enough to win three. Every time we’ve won it, it seems to get better.”
It was an appropriate conclusion to a series full of near misses and close calls that had fans in Chicago and Tampa Bay on the edge of their seats for almost two weeks. It was only the second final to begin with five one-goal games, and no team enjoyed a two-goal advantage until an open Kane buried a perfect pass from Brad Richards at 14:46 of the third.
It was Kane’s first goal of the final, and it touched off a wild celebration by the frenzied crowd of 22,424, who broke out more chants of “We want the Cup! We want the Cup!”
“I’d say you have a dynasty,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the cheering crowd as he presented the trophy to the grinning Blackhawks.