Chicago Blackhawks’ Top 10 Thankful Moments In Kane/Toews Era
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, it’s only fair we take a look at what the Chicago Blackhawks should be thankful for
The Chicago Blackhawks franchise and fan base have been very thankful over the last several seasons. The fan base is thankful the team got Jonathan Toews with the third overall pick in the 2006 draft, and that Patrick Kane was the first overall pick in the 2007 draft.
The Blackhawks are thankful to be out of the dark times, when ESPN called the franchise the worst in all of professional sports. There have been a ton of moments to be thankful for over the last several seasons, I thought it would be best to limit it to plays that happened on the ice. These moments are not player moves but, actual plays.
So we decided to share on Thanksgiving, 10 moments for the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans to be thankful for.
Moment 10: Marian Hossa‘s overtime winner against Nashville, 2009 Western Conference quarterfinals, Game 5
In the Blackhawks’ quest for their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961, the first round was not easy. The Nashville Predators had the series tied at 2 heading into Game 5 at the United Center. The Blackhawks had trailed in the series 2-1 before winning Game 4 in Nashville. Game 5 was a critical game in the series. The Blackhawks had to win it.
Late in the third period, Marian Hossa took a boarding penalty with the Blackhawks down a goal. It was a major penalty at 18:57 gone by in the period. With less than two minutes left, coach Joel Quenneville pulled Antti Niemi for an extra skater.
Patrick Kane would score the equalizer with 14 seconds left in the third period. The Blackhawks would kill off the Hossa’s major penalty in overtime. Shortly after, Brent Sopel would put a shot on goal, and Hossa cleaned up the rebound for the game winner.
Hossa’s goal propelled the Blackhawks to the next round against the Vancouver Canucks and helped them win their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961
Moment 9: Dustin Byfuglien scores the Game 3 OT winner in the 2009-10 Western Conference finals
After dispatching the Predators and then the Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks had won the first two games on the road in the Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks.
This was four postseason wins in a row for the ’Hawks and they were looking for five in a row. The Sharks had narrowly lost both Games 1 (2-1) and 2 (4-2). This game was heading to overtime after Patrick Marleau scored his second goal of the game in the third period.
Byfuglien would capitalize on a great shift by the Blackhawks putting the game winner past Evgeni Nabokov.
These playoffs were Byfuglien’s coming out party with the Blackhawks. He had scored in the first two games of the Sharks series. It was his fourth goal in four games. The Blackhawks would finish off the Sharks in four games, propelling them to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1992.
Byfuglien would finish the playoffs with 11 goals and 5 assists. This was the second Western Conference finals appearance in a row for the Blackhawks. Byfuglien would be traded in the offseason as part of the salary cap purge.
Moment 8: Patrick Kane seals Stanley Cup win in 2010
The Chicago Blackhawks were in the Stanley Cup Final were the first time since 1992. The Blackhawks had just played the best game they have ever played, per Coach Quenneville, in a 7-4 victory in Game 5. (I was there.)
This Game 6 went back and forth, with the Blackhawks striking first and the Flyers responding. Byfuglien scored first, with the Flyers responding with goals from Daniel Briere and Scott Hartnell. Patrick Sharp and Andrew Ladd would respond with two goals to take a 3-2 lead. Scott Hartnell would tie the game with four minutes left to play.
The stage was set for Kane to win the Blackhawks the Stanley Cup in dramatic fashion.
This was the first Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks since 1961. Kane scored and only his teammates knew that he scored. Kane would score on former Blackhawks goalie Michael Leighton. This would start the Blackhawks’ reign during the salary cap era. This goal was crucial for the Blackhawks as the tide in the game was starting to turn in the Flyers’ favor.
Moment 7: Brent Seabrook vanquishes the Red Wings and completes the comeback
The Detroit Red Wings were moving to the Eastern Conference after the 2012-13 season. The rivalry that had raged for years was ending. The Blackhawks and Wings would only play twice a year.
It was a lockout-shortened season in which the Blackhawks set the record for most games without a regulation loss. The Blackhawks jumped out to a 1-0 series lead. They won 4-1 with goals from Hossa, Sharp, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger.
The Blackhawks then got worked for the next three games. They lost 4-1 in Game 2, 3-1 in Game 3 and 2-0 in Game 4. The ’Hawks hit rock bottom in Game 4.
The Blackhawks would win 4-1 in Game 5 and won Game 6, 4-3 in Detroit. In Game 7, the Blackhawks were tied at 1 late in the game when Niklas Hjalmarsson looked to have essentially won the game with a late goal. The refs had called a penalty on Brandon Saad and Kyle Quincey and the goal was waived off.
The game would go to overtime, and Seabrook would get an early chance and make the most of it.
Moment 6: Patrick Kane dethrones the Kings in Game 5
The Blackhawks had two years of absence from the Western Conference finals prior to 2013. Meanwhile, the Kings had won the Stanley Cup in 2012. The Kings were hoping to be the first back-to-back champions since 1996-97 and 1997-98.
The Blackhawks jumped on the Kings early, going 2-0 at home. The Kings rebounded and won Game 3 while Duncan Keith got suspended for hitting Jeff Carter in the face. Hjalmarsson was huge for the ’Hawks in Game 4 and the Blackhawks won.
The Blackhawks returned home to finish off the Kings in Game 5. Keith scored on his first shot of the game to give the ’Hawks an early lead. Kane put the Blackhawks up 2-0 early in the first period.
However, the Kings would not go quietly into the night. Dwight King scored in the second period to cut lead in half. Anze Kopitar would tie the game in the third period, only to have Kane retake the lead. With the game seemingly sown up, Mike Richards tallied the game-tying goal with 10 seconds left in regulation.
The game would go into overtime, where Toews and Kane would strike the fatal blow to the Kings.
Moment 5: Andrew Shaw makes “shin pads” a household phrase
The Blackhawks welcomed the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. This game was an epic battle between two great teams in one of the classic showdowns.
The Bruins jumped out to the early lead in Game 1. Milan Lucic scored a goal late in the first period and another one early in the second period. Facing a 2-0 disadvantage, Brandon Saad started the Blackhawks’ rally with his first goal of the playoffs. Patrice Bergeron would match Saad’s goal to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead in the third period.
The game would go through the first overtime with great chances on both sides but no goals scored. The second overtime would produce many chances for the Bruins. Zdeno Chara hit the post on a shot from the point. Chara’s shot was the Bruins’ best chance to end the game.
The game would go to a third overtime. Midway through the period, Michal Rozsival would take a shot from the point that redirected off Shaw’s shin pads and into the net, winning the game.
Moment 4: Two goals In 17 seconds
The Blackhawks went to a sixth game of the Stanley Cup Final with the Boston Bruins in 2013. The series was at 3-2 in favor of the Blackhawks.
This game had the intensity of a heavyweight fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The Bruins got up early in TD Garden with a goal from Chris Kelly. Toews would silence the Bruins crowd with an equalizer.
The Bruins would a take a lead very late on a Lucic goal. With everyone thinking the series was heading back to the Chicago, Bryan Bickell, the year’s playoff hero, scored the game-tying goal with a 1:16 left in the third period. Seconds later, Bolland would put the Blackhawks up for good.
That would be Bolland’s last play with the Blackhawks. He was traded to the Maple Leafs in the offseason. It would be the highlight of Bickell’s career. Bickell’s career is now in jeopardy after being diagnosed with MS.
Moment 3: Patrick Kane’s showtime
In defense of their Stanley Cup championship in 2013-14, the Blackhawks went against a familiar foe in the Minnesota Wild. The Blackhawks had beaten the Wild the previous time they met in the playoffs. This was the second year in a row the teams matched up in the playoffs.
This was the best team the Wild had assembled. They were built to beat the Blackhawks in the playoffs. In Game 1, the Wild had tied the game up late and had all the momentum on their side. This is when Kane shines. Kane took it upon his stick to put the game out of reach. He went to his backhand and created the “showtime” goal.
The ’Hawks would beat the Wild in six games and then sweep the Wild in the following year’s playoffs.
Moment 2: Duncan Keith scores first
In the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, it seemed like Keith never left the ice. Keith, Seabrook, Oduya and Hjalmarsson had shouldered the bulk of minutes on defense. Keith had averaged 29:46 for the series with the Lightning. For the playoffs, Keith averaged 31:28 minutes of ice.
Keith was the hardest working player on the ice when he scored the first goal of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Keith got a great pass from Kane and shot it, but Ben Bishop deflected it. Keith, however, followed his rebound and scored. Keith broke the scoring drought and blew the roof off of the United Center.
Moment 1: Patrick Kane cements the third championship
The Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead going into the third period of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. One-goal leads in the playoffs are never safe despite who you have in net.
Late in the third period, Saad started a rush from the Blackhawks zone and got the puck to Brad Richards. Richards, who signed with the Blackhawks for a discounted rate for one last chance to the win Stanley Cup, had the puck on his stick.
Richards, who previously won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning, made a pass to Kane. Kane buried the puck in the back of the net to put the Blackhawks up 2-0 in the third. Corey Crawford and rest of the team would make the 2-0 lead stand up, giving the Blackhawks their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.
Those are top moments I thankful for when it comes to the Blackhawks in the Kane and Toews era. What are you top 10 moments?
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