One Minute Remaining: Roads to the Cups
|The Blackhawks celebrate after clinching the Stanley Cup for the second time on April 12, 1938.|
I don't know of anyone who is still around that was at the Chicago Stadium in 1934 and 1938 to see the Blackhawks capture the Stanley Cup on home ice.
While home ice is always preferred as an advantage, the Blackhawks have managed to take home Lord Stanley's trophy the last three times in enemy territory: 1961, 2010 and 2013. In fact, in the last six years, Los Angeles was the only team to win the Cup on home ice when they ousted New Jersey in six games.
Chicago's first Cup came in dramatic fashion in 1934 when Harold "Mush" March scored in the second overtime for a 1-0 win behind goalie Charlie Gardiner against Detroit. In fact, the Blackhawks did not lose on the road in all three playoff series, which saw them open the finals against the Red Wings with two victories.
The underdog 1938 championship team, who had a losing regular-season mark, opened their first two playoff series with road losses, and it took an overtime goal in Game 3 of the Quarterfinals on the road to upset Montreal. The Semifinals saw the Hawks tie New York on an overtime goal in Game 2 at home, before rallying on the road to move into the Final. The Blackhawks finished their Cinderella story in the finals against Toronto after calling upon a minor league goalie, Alfie Moore, who was literally pulled out of a bar in order to beat the Maple Leafs 3-1 in the opener. The Hawks lost the second game of the series on the road, but returned to Chicago to win the Cup.
In 1961, the Blackhawks were led by Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall and Pierre Pilote, and they split their first two games with the favored Canadiens before edging Montreal 2-1 in the longest playoff game on Chicago ice, which ended only after Murray Balfour scored in the third overtime. The Canadiens evened the series, but Hall shut them out the next two games to move on to the Final against Detroit. The Hawks took the Wings in six games, winning the clincher in the Motor City.
Overtime wins were the key to the 2010 Championship. Few can ever forget the dramatic victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals at the United Center against Nashville, when Patrick Kane's shortie tied things with less than 14 seconds in regulation, and Marian Hossa came out of the penalty box for the winner early into overtime. Even more memorably, Kane's overtime score 4 minutes into overtime in Philadelphia gave the Blackhawks their first Cup in 49 seasons.
|Jonathan Toews kisses the Stanley Cup after capturing the 2013 Championship.|
This year's championship also had its special overtime moments. To refresh your memory: In the opener against Minnesota, it took Bryan Bickell's overtime tally at 16:35 for the win. Against Detroit, after being down in the series 3-1, the Hawks completed their comeback with Brent Seabrook's overtime tally in Game 7 in order to continue their playoff run. Taking on the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference Final, Kane again made his mark with a hat trick in Game 5, including the game-winner at 11:40 of double overtime, to book a meeting with Boston in the Stanley Cup Final.
The opener was a triple overtime thriller, with the winner bouncing off Andrew Shaw's shinpad. Game 4 needed another overtime winner by Seabrook, which tied the series at two games apiece. Then in Game 6 in Boston, the most celebrated 17 seconds in Blackhawk history unfolded when Bryan Bickell tied the game with 1:16 left in regulation and Dave Bolland scored the winner at 19:09. Chicago had clinched their second Cup in four seasons — and their third in a row on the road!