Not all Stanley Cup Final games are created equal. This countdown of the top Chicago Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville wouldn’t be much fun if we just threw all the Stanley Cup Final series victories one after another at the top. We’ve already touched on a win over Philadelphia in 2010, and now we’re moving on to a game against Boston in 2013.
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After a crazy fourth game that saw the Blackhawks even this series at 2 games apiece (and essentially created the “Corey Crawford’s glove hand sucks” dialogue), the scene shifted back to the United Center for Game 5. Both squads had the opportunity to get within a single win of immortality, and the hosts would be the ones to cash in.
Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.
No. 49: 2013 Stanley Cup Final, Game 5
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Boston Bruins 1
This game might be best remembered in a vacuum as the one that saw both Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron suffer injuries. Toews suffered some sort of upper-body injury, while Bergeron suffered all the injuries in the form of a broken rib, cartilage tear, punctured lung and separated shoulder. Predictably, both these guys played more than 17:30 in the following game.
But we’re focused on Game 5 for the time being, and the Blackhawks nearly got on the board very early. Toews created a good chance by carrying the puck into the center of the offensive zone and dishing it to Duncan Keith while Bruins defenders collapsed on Toews. Keith wired a shot toward Tuukka Rask but saw it knocked down. Patrick Kane would recover the puck behind the net and sneakily feed Toews waiting to Rask’s left. Toews somehow got off a shot while having his stick completely tied up, but it rang off the a post.
Da Windy City
Boston sprinkled in some bids after Toews’ attempt, but none of them were particularly memorable or strong. Patrick Sharp would receive two great chances before the game’s first goal was scored. Coach Q had Sharp, Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa on the ice together at one point midway through the first, and the trio responded by expertly setting up a scoring play. Hossa carried the puck from the defensive zone with Sharp across the ice and Saad trailing the pair. Hossa would enter the offensive zone and drop the puck to Saad, who showed great vision by finding Sharp all the way at Rask’s right-side doorstep. Though a Bruins player got a stick on the puck, Sharp still had a good chance to send the puck into the twine before Rask could move side to side, but Sharp shanked the shot to keep the game scoreless.
He had an even better chance later in the period from the same location. This time it was Hossa finding Michal Handzus, who passed up a decent attempt in front to give Sharp an even better one. Though Sharpie got all of this shot, Rask got a pad over to make the save.
The referee reacts to Tuukka Rask’s flexibility. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Rask couldn’t stop the Blackhawks forever though. A suspect Bruins defense would get caught sightseeing when Kane danced behind the net and threw the puck through the blue paint and across to a pinching Johnny Oduya. In a precursor to a pretty important Game 6 goal, Oduya launched a shot at Rask, and Kane would sneak in the back door to punch home the rebound, which actually first came off the stick of Dennis Seidenberg and then nicked Rask’s right pad. Dave Bolland must have memorized that play while watching on the bench. Regardless, the Blackhawks were up 1-0 late in the opening period.
Not long after, on a 4-on-4 play, Tyler Seguin (remember when the Bruins had him?) glided through several Blackhawks and found Zdeno Chara open above the circles. Normally that’s a recipe for disaster, but Crawford was up to the challenge on the following shot. A scrum in the net also generates some colorful language uttered by a referee after the play, which NBC accidentally picked up and which you can hear in the above highlight package, if you’re so inclined.
Mr. Opportunistic Kane would show up again for a goal midway through the second period. At this point, the Bryan Bickell-Toews-Kane line was a thing, and it was generating good scoring chances. On this bid, Bickell and Toews played a give-and-go game until the former threw the puck on Rask. Bickell would retrieve the puck behind the net and tap it to Kane skating onto the doorstep. Kane needed about a quarter of a second to roof a filthy backhand shot over a sprawling Rask for what would eventually serve as the game-winning goal.
He backhanded it out of the air, too. Because he’s Patrick Kane. (Screenshot from YouTube)
These two teams would spend much of the next 20 game minutes trading chances, with Boston using its physicality and Chicago using its speed while taking advantage of pinching Bruins defnesemen to create some good bids. It was the Bruins who would tally next, however.
When a team lets Chara have too many shots at the net, one of them will eventually get through simply because the dude has a bomb for a shot, and it’s hard to get in front of it in time. Milan Lucic found David Krejci behind Crawford’s net, and Krejci exercised good patience in waiting for a small opening for Chara. The looming defenseman one-timed a shot that spent maybe a tenth of a second in the twine, but that was enough to get the Bruins on the board early in the third period.
The Blackhawks would push back, with Bolland and Michael Frolik attempting a give-and-go play similar to what Bickell and Toews tried in the second period. Frolik wound up with a backhand bid that Rask shut down. Kane also had a ridiculous chance in the third, all alone along the boards to Rask’s right. Kane wound up an absolute howitzer of a shot, and Rask somehow got a piece with his glove to prevent a Kaner hat trick.
Boston had about 2:30 to tie things up when the Bruins received a great opportunity. Handzus failed to get a puck in deep, leading Brad Marchand down toward Crawford. Marchand’s shot attempt hit a bunch of traffic, but time traveler Jaromir Jagr settled the puck and proceeded to fire it … right over a likely surprised Crawford and his net.
Again Chicago came right back, with Frolik bowling over a Bruin in front of the benches to send him and Bickell away on a 2-on-1, this while Rask was trying to leave the net for an extra attacker. Frolik fed Bickell, who tried to go opposite side with a shot but saw it turned away by Rask. The goaltender proceeded to get off the ice and skate toward the bench in a pretty neat display.
That neat display would turn pretty neat for the Blackhawks, as Bolland iced the game with 14 seconds left on an empty-netter from beyond center ice.
The Blackhawks actually outshot their opponent in this game, 31-25, and the win put the team in line for its second Stanley Cup in four seasons. Of course, a pretty memorable game would follow this one, and considering the outing before this one was also wild, poor Game 5 gets left in the dust, to an extent.
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