1. 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks
If you’ve ever heard the saying 2 goals in 17 seconds, that would sum up the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks. The 2013 Blackhawks were a record-breaking team that almost didn’t happen.
Going into the 2012-13 NHL season, many people, including the NHLPA, wondered if the season would even happen. The NHL was facing a lockout and if there wasn’t a deal made by the end of 2012, chances are there would be no 2012-13 season.
On January 6th, 2013, everyone came together and ended this long lockout, giving the teams free rein to start practicing and figuring out the schedule for the 2013 shortened season.
The season was shortened to 48-games, all of the games being against every team’s conference, meaning the West played the West and the East played the East.
Starting on January 19th, 2013, the Chicago Blackhawks knocked off the defending Stanley Cup Champions 5-3 in LA. People looked at their schedule and wondered if there was a misprint when they saw 10 of Chicago’s first 12 games would be played on the road. If Gary Bettman was trying to pull a fast one on Chicago, it backfired, because it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
The Blackhawks broke records, including the most games to start a season without losing in regulation, which now stands at 24 games (21-0-3), still held by the Blackhawks.
Of the 48 games played, Chicago went 36-7-5 tallied up 77 points, and also won their second President’s Trophy and secured home ice throughout the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Blackhawks’ first test during the playoffs came in Round 2 against the Detroit Red Wings, where they fell behind 3-1 in the series. At that point, Chicago had never won a series when they were down 3-1, being 0-11 at that point.
Detroit was closing in on beating Chicago again in 5 games, the same thing they did in 2009. It was the last time they might ever matchup in the playoffs, with Detroit moving to the Eastern Conference in 2014.
Then, Chicago pushed through with Mr. Overtime, Brent Seabrook, getting the game-winning goal in overtime, after a shocking turn of events where Chicago won the game in the last 2 minutes. That goal in regulation was eventually called off, but Seabrook came through in OT. That could have changed the whole playoffs, but lucky for us fans, our Blackhawks pulled it out.
The Western Conference Finals was the first of 2 matchups against the LA Kings, the second between the two would be in 2014. The Blackhawks went through LA in 5 games, but all 5 games were very close. The deciding game of the series ended in double overtime with Patrick Kane scoring the game-winning goal, which also gave him a hat trick.
After that LA series, the Blackhawks would stay in Chicago for their matchup against the Boston Bruins, an Orignal Six matchup. This was a fast, hard-hitting and exciting series for players and fans alike.
This Stanley Cup Final was an instant classic. This was probably the most fun hockey I’ve ever seen and my favorite Blackhawks’ series. It was a series were some role players became key players, the elite players became star players, and Corey Crawford proved that he could win the big games.
The Blackhawks were down 2-1 in the series, but would push through with a 6-5 win during Game 4 in Boston, thanks to another Brent Seabrook game-winning goal in overtime.
This goal would turn everything around, with Chicago taking Game 5 in Chicago and showing up big time in Game 6 to win their 5th Stanley Cup in franchise history.