Right now we are going through a bunch of great anniversaries of the Blackhawks dynasty. Every day on Twitter I see, "On this day..." followed by a Blackhawks victory or play against a certain team. I thought it would be a fun exercise to go through and identify my personal top 5 postseason moments for the Blackhawks during their dynasty.
1. Two Goals in Seventeen Seconds, 2013 vs. Boston
Stanley Cup Finals. Game 6. Blackhawks lead the series 3-2. A hard fought game finds the score 2-1 Boston with 92 seconds to play. Can the Hawks pull out some magic or will it be Game 7 back in Chicago? Hawks get possession, Kane charges the puck into the offensive zone and puts a shot on goal. Meanwhile, Crawford has hit the bench and an extra attacker comes on. After a little scrum in the corner, the puck finds Toews, who finds a wide open Bryan Bickell sitting on the other side of the net. Bickell bangs it in on the one-timer. GOAL! 2-2 with 1:16 left to play. Back to the faceoff circle. Both teams at full strength.
Bruins win the faceoff, dump it towards the Blackhawks end. Hawks with possession at their own blue line. They pass it forward to a charging Dave Bolland. The puck makes its way around until Johnny Oduya sent a bouncing puck toward the net. It ricocheted off the post, found Bolland's stick and he flung it into the back of the net. Game. Set. Championship!
2. Kane's OT Goal In Game 6, 2010 vs. Philly
Stanley Cup Finals. Game 6. Blackhawks lead the series 3-2. A hard fought game finds the score knotted at 3-3 in overtime. If Cinderella team Philly wins, they bring it to Game 7 in Chicago. If the Blackhawks win, they hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. After just over 4 minutes of back and forth in overtime, Brian Campbell dumps the puck to Kane on the left boards. Kane, at a stand still, does a little "Steph Curry" ankle breaker on the Philly defenseman, or a "shoulder shimmy" some have called it, and gets around the defenseman. He has an open shot at the goal, but it is a difficult angle. He shoots...
Nobody knows what happens. There is pandemonium in the City of Brotherly Love. Where did the puck go? It didn't seem like it was in the goal. Did it get stuck in the goalie's jersey or pads? Did it ricochet out of play and nobody saw it? What exactly happened? In the words of Doc Emrick, "We saw no light, we saw no signal..."
But Patrick Kane knew. He knew it went in. And in it was. GOAL! Game. Set. Championship!
3. Seabrook's OT Goal In Game 7, 2013 vs. Detroit
Western Conference Finals. Game 7. After a neck-in-neck battle, the Blackhawks find themselves deadlocked with the Red Wings at 1-1 in Overtime. Whoever scores the next goal is moving onto the Stanley Cup Finals. The Blackhawks just had one of the best regular seasons of all time. An early exit would make it devastating. Also, just minutes before, the Blackhawks thought they had the lead.
With just 1:27 to go, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson put a puck in the back of the net on a beautiful slap shot. But the goal was called off due to a double-sided minor penalty on both teams. The United Center was deflated and play resumed, but it felt like the end.
Then, 3:35 minutes into overtime, Brent Seabrook found himself at center ice with the puck. Marcus Kruger was also "there" but it seemed as though it was Seabrook versus the entire Red Wings team. He had no choice but to put it on net, which he did, and...GOAL! Game. Set. Stanely Cup Finals!
4. Hossa's OT Goal in Game 5, 2010 vs. Nashville
Western Conference Quarterfinals. Game 5. Predators lead the series 2-2. A hard fought game has found it knotted at 4-4 in overtime. Just minutes ago, in the waning minutes of the third period, Marian Hossa had been assigned 5 minutes in the penalty box for boarding and the Blackhawks somehow mustered a magical game-tying, shorthanded goal by Patrick Kane. This sent it to overtime. After a very successful season, a first round exit was not the way they Blackhawks wanted this to end, and going down 3-2 to Nashville would put them in danger of losing it all during game 6 on the road. Kane's goal was heroic, but they still needed one more to win the game. Now in overtime, any goal would end it. For the first four minutes of the overtime period, Hossa was biding his time "sweating bullets," according to him, in the pentaly box. When he finally got out of the box, the Hawks had possession. Hossa skated to the far side of the goal, and a Hawks pass found him wide open and he knocked one by Pekka Rinne. GOAL! Game. Set. Western Conference Semifinals!
5. Shaw's "Header" OT Goal in Game 2, 2015 vs. Anaheim
This may be the most unexpected entry on my list. You may have expected Kane's 2OT goal versus the Los Angeles Kings to be here, and it has its deserving place. But this "goal" was just flat out fun.
So it's Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. The Blackhawks are already down 1-0 in the series and cannot afford to be down by 2 before arriving home. After an extra 39 minutes of hockey, Andrew Shaw sees a bouncing puck and flips itself up, high in the air. There's a cliche of "using your head" in tricky situations. Andrew Shaw did just that, but literally, soccer heading the puck into the net. It was fun, I remember celebrating instantly, until all of the audience was reminded that a head butted goal would be disallowed based on the definitions of the goal.
Eventually, the Hawks would hold on to win that crazy game when Marcus Kruger scored the game winning goal 16:12 into the third overtime. The Blackhawks would go on to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals that year.
I have to admit, that was an exhilarating exercise. It filled me with so much joy, but also a big slap of reality, reminding me of how far the Blackhawks have to go. Hopefully with Kyle Davidson at the helm, the Blackhawks can return to prominence sooner rather than later. Enjoy the two conference finals series!