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The Chicago Blackhawks' Dominant 2013 Championship Season
By The Daily Herald
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Stanley Cup Final
Stanley Cup Final, Game 1 June 12, 2013 Blackhawks 4, Bruins 3, (3OT)
Marathon VictoryLong, Long Opening Act Ends in Win for Hawks By Tim Sassone
Andrew Shaw seemed to be everywhere Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Shaw sure was in the right place at the right time in front of the net in triple overtime, when he deflected a shot by Michal Rozsival past goalie Tuukka Rask to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over Boston.
The clock in the United Center had just struck midnight when Shaw ended the third-longest game in team history at 12:08 of the third OT. The longest game in team history took place in 1931, when Cy Wentworth scored at 13:50 of the third OT to beat Montreal.
Rozsival's shot was tipped first by Dave Bolland before Shaw got a piece of it.
The Hawks got third-period goals from Bolland and Johnny Oduya to force overtime.
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford was sensational with 51 saves, coming up big on two Bruins power plays in overtime. Both penalties were for the Hawks having too many men on the ice.
"It's what we've come to expect from him," Patrick Sharp said.
"Crow was great. He kept us in there," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He made several all-alone plays and saves. He was great. There were a lot of pucks at the net, a lot of bouncing pucks with traffic, and a big penalty kill as well."
Crawford stopped Shawn Thornton on a 2-on-1 in the first overtime and later stood tall on Boston's first power play.
"You just have to stick with it, no matter if you miss or if they come close," Crawford said. "You have to keep going until you win.
The Hawks got another penalty for too many men on the ice at 19:03 of the second overtime and got lucky when Jaromir Jagr deflected a Zdeno Chara shot off the right post.
In the third OT moments before Shaw scored, Kaspars Daugavins had a chance all alone in front only to be pulled down by Oduya just as he was getting ready to pull the trigger on a backhander in a wide-open net.
"I don't really know what happened," Oduya said. "I was trying to put my stick there and try to force him to do something. I got lucky on that play, I think, getting my stick in so he couldn't get the shot off."
The Hawks outshot Boston 39-25 through regulation and scored 2 goals in the last 12 minutes to send the game to overtime.
After Patrice Bergeron scored on a power play at 6:09 to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead, Bolland and Oduya answered with goals less than five minutes apart and the comeback was on.
Bolland got his first of the playoffs at the eight-minute mark on a feed from Shaw after a Torey Krug turnover. Shaw spotted Bolland streaking down the left side and found him with a sweet pass through traffic.
Oduya got the Hawks their first tie of the night at 12:14, when his shot hit the skate of defenseman Andrew Ference and trickled by Rask.
Boston scored the only goal of the first period at 13:11 when Milan Lucic beat Crawford on a pass from Nathan Horton.
Bruins 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman Zdeno Chara played 45:05 and was a guy the Hawks appeared to be ready for. Duncan Keith played more than 48 minutes.
"He's definitely a factor," Quenneville said of Chara. "Not too many guys you're going to go down inside and expect to beat him 1-on-1. We want to make it challenging for him. At the same time, that could be easier said than done. But he does play big minutes. You try to wear him down, work him in his own zone. He's a special defenseman."
Shaw, all of 5-10, 180 pounds, went right at Chara on several occasions.
"He's a competitor" Quenneville said of Shaw. "He does things game in, game out. The bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge; he rises to the occasion. He's a warrior."
Niklas Hjalmarsson went for a hit on David Krejci behind the net and missed. Krejci came away with the puck and fed Horton, whose touch pass to Lucic caught Crawford out of position to make the stop.
Another poor read by Hjalmarsson led to Lucic's second goal 51 seconds into the second period.
The Hawks got a goal from Saad a short time later to make it 2-1. It was Saad's first goal of the playoffs in his 18th game. Saad had 6 of the Hawks' 39 shots through regulation and Marian Hossa 8.
The Hawks had a chance to make it 2-2, but they failed to cash in on 1:17 of a 5-on-3 near the midpoint of the second period.
"It's never easy to lose a game when you're in the third overtime period," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I thought that in overtime we got better. We got a little stronger.
"We had some great looks, some great opportunities and just didn't bury them. Eventually somebody is going to score a goal as fatigue sets in."
Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 June 15, 2013 Bruins 2, Blackhawks 1 (OT)
Overtime AgonyFor Hawks, No Celebrating this Time By Tim Sassone
For the second time in two games, the Blackhawks and the Bruins needed extra time to decide a winner.
This time it wasn't the Hawks doing the celebrating.
Daniel Paille's goal at 13:48 of the first overtime gave Boston a 2-1 win and evened the Stanley Cup Final at 1-1.
Brandon Bollig, who was playing for the second straight game in the Final for the benched Viktor Stalberg, couldn't handle a rim-around off the boards, and the Bruins pounced on the opportunity.
Tyler Seguin fed Paille between the circles, and he beat Corey Crawford to the glove side off the post.
Paille also assisted on Chris Kelly's goal at 14:58 of the second period that made it 1-1.
Bruins coach Claude Julien put fourth liners Kelly and Paille with third liner Seguin together after the first period, and it paid off with magic.
"We didn't have much going, and I thought that line would give us something, and they responded well," Julien said. "They got both goals tonight. It was a hunch from the coach.
"You look at last game when they won and their heroes were guys from the third and fourth lines. That's what you get in the playoffs. Top lines are playing head to head and against top defensemen, so it's not always that easy to score."
The Hawks regretted coming out of the first period ahead only 1-0 despite dominating the play.
"The first period was a period that we were really disappointed with," Julien said. "From the second period on we seemed to slowly get better and better. The further the games went on, the better we got. Obviously, when you come into this building you're hoping for a split.
"That first period was a hard period to coach and to watch. They were skating and we weren't."
The Hawks attempted 30 shots to Boston's 5 with 19 getting to the net.
The Hawks got the only goal of the period at 11:22 when Patrick Sharp beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask from the far right side during a scramble.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, that was all they could put behind Rask, and it came back to bite them in the end.
"Maybe we left something out there," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Had everything right in that first part of the game. Had some good looks, as well. Did what we were looking to do. But, hey, it's a long game. We've got to be better than that.
"I thought we slowed ourselves down. I don't think we got the puck behind them. I think we were in front of them too much and that played into their hands. In the second period, I thought we lost the pace of the game on that end of the rink.
"We had the perfect start to the game and then we stopped doing what made us successful. We stood around and they countered."
The Hawks let the Bruins hang around until late in the second period when a turnover by defenseman Nick Leddy led to Kelly's tying goal at 14:58.
"If somebody would watch the first period, I would've said, 'Oh, give them the Cup right now,'" Jaromir Jagr said. "If somebody watched the overtime, they say, 'Oh, it's gonna be a long series.'"
"I don't think we played well enough to win that one in overtime at all," said Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. "We came out in the second firing and we have to do a better job of keeping the momentum throughout the game."
The Hawks' power play was a problem once again, going 0-for-3 and looking disorganized and unsure of itself.
Quenneville thought the power play had a few good looks.
"Two good looks on the first one," Quenneville said. "I thought that was our two nice setups. We lost a little momentum on the next one or two."
The outcome might have been different had Jonathan Toews' goal late in the first period been allowed to stand. Replays showed the puck clearly over the goal line, but the referee told Quenneville he was in the process of blowing the whistle.
"He said his intention was to blow the whistle," Quenneville said.
"I thought the whistle was a little quick, but that's the way it is," Toews said.
Quenneville had no problems with the play by Bollig in overtime.
"They got the one shift, around the wall, we didn't get there in time, bang, bang," Quenneville said.
"No one said it was going to be easy," Toews said. "No one said everything was going to go our way. Some moments, you feel pretty darn good, like when we won Game 1 and triple overtime, and tonight it doesn't feel good.
"You've got to find a way to get over it to move to the next time you're going to be on the ice, and not let it affect you."
Corey Crawford makes a save during Game 2. Crawford had 26 saves in the loss. (Steve Lundy/Daily Herald)
Stanley Cup Final, Game 3 June 17, 2013 Bruins 2, Blackhawks 0
Boxed Out in BostonTough Go for Blackhawks without Hossa By Tim Sassone
The Blackhawks managed to win without Duncan Keith in the last round, but they couldn't beat the Boston Bruins without Marian Hossa.
After trying to take the warm-up, Hossa was a late scratch with an upper-body injury and the Hawks couldn't overcome the loss of their second-best all-around player.
The result was a 2-0 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"We're hopeful he'll be ready for the next game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Bruins lead the series 2-1.
"It's something we were prepared for all day that he might not play," captain Jonathan Toews said. "It happens sometimes that you're missing one of your best players and you've got to find a way to play without him."
Patrick Sharp said playing without Hossa was no excuse for the loss.
"We found out after warm-ups that he wasn't going to play," Sharp said. "We've got plenty of guys that can step up. You take a guy like that out of the lineup and it hurts, but it's definitely not the excuse we're going to use.
"We had plenty of chances to make a difference out there, and we didn't."
Bruins coach Claude Julien said he found out Hossa wasn't playing when everyone else did.
"Just found out when I received the game sheet," Julien said. "I was surprised as anybody else. But to be honest with you, there weren't any changes in our game. As I mentioned the other day when I was asked about another player, we don't make our game plan based on an individual.
"I can definitely tell you they lost a pretty important player on their roster, but that doesn't mean we change our game. I think it's important we stick with what we believe in."
Only Corey Crawford's strong play in goal for the Hawks with 33 saves kept it close.
The Hawks now have just 1 goal against Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask on the last two games.
"I don't think (he's in our head)," Toews said. "The last two series there have been times when we had trouble scoring goals. Sometimes it happens. We've just got to be better and work harder for those loose pucks."
While the Hawks flailed again on the power play, going 0-for-3, Boston got a power-play goal in the second period from Patrice Bergeron to make it 2-0, and the game was over.
Again, the Hawks spent most of their time on the perimeter, unable to get inside on the Bruins.
"They box you out," Quenneville said. "They've got big bodies. They block shots. I think we had some chances to get some pucks through the net, but we didn't. Our entries weren't great."
"We maybe took a few too many penalties, and we didn't create on our power play," Toews said. "As soon as we get one that confidence is going to come.
"We stuck with it for 60 minutes, but we just didn't score enough goals to win. We didn't score any goals. We've got a day to think about it and regroup. I don't think we're discouraged or frustrated at all."
Ben Smith filled in for Hossa, making his first appearance in the playoffs for the Hawks since 2011 when he had 3 goals in the seven-game series against Vancouver. Smith was minus-1 playing with Dave Bolland and Sharp.
Hossa's absence forced Quenneville to radically alter his lines, using Toews with fourth liners Michael Frolik and Marcus Kruger for the first half of the game.
Quenneville was trying to keep Toews away from Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, but he may have outsmarted himself as Chara was on the ice for every one of Toews' shifts in the first period.
"It's always good to shake things up a little bit," Toews said. "You might get a little chemistry. Myself, I've been playing against the (David) Krejci line for the most part."
The Hawks were 0-for-2 on the power play in a scoreless first period and almost got scored on twice on the second one with Shawn Thornton off for roughing at 14:15.
Brad Marchand had the puck roll off his stick on a partial breakaway on Boston's best short-handed chance.
Daniel Paille opened the scoring at 2:13 of the second period after Bolland fanned when trying to control the puck. Bergeron's goal came at 14:05 just as a 5-on-3 was expiring.
"It just came down to a couple plays, that's all," Keith said. "We played hard, it was just a couple plays that made the difference."
The Bruins won 71 percent of the faceoffs as Michal Handzus was 0-for-10 and Bolland 1-7. Bergeron was 24-4 for Boston.
"You can talk about that and our power play," Quenneville said. "Those were basically the differentials in the game."
Stanley Cup Final, Game 4 June 19, 2013 Blackhawks 6, Bruins 5 (OT)
Series-Tying StunnerSeabrook's Goal Gives Hawks a Win They Had to Have By Tim Sassone
In the Blackhawks' previous biggest game of the year, against Detroit in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, it was Brent Seabrook who ended it with a goal in overtime.
In a game Wednesday night that winger Bryan Bickell called the biggest game of some of their lives, it was Seabrook scoring again in overtime at 9:51 to give the Hawks a wild 6-5 road win over Boston in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Seabrook beat Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask through a Jonathan Toews screen on a slap shot from the right point to give the Hawks a happy ending in a game in which they lost multiple leads.
"It's one of those things we talked about all year, getting to the net," Seabrook said. "Tazer made a great screen in front, and I just tried to get it on net.
"I just tried to get it past the first guy. I thought all the forwards on the ice did a good job of getting in front and boxing out."
Toews didn't get an assist on the winning goal, but he occupied two defenders in front, including Zdeno Chara.
"I definitely have to give credit to Seabrook for the shot he made," Toews said. "Maybe Rask didn't see it at first. I think I kind of pivoted and maybe let him see it. Obviously it was a little too late.
"(Patrick) Kane's goal came from two guys being in front with traffic. Ugly goals; we don't care. We'll find a way. It's something we need to keep doing."
The win tied the series at 2-2.
"There's definitely a big difference between going back tied and being down 3-1," Hawks goalie Corey Crawford said.
Johnny Boychuk's goal with 7:46 to play sent the game to overtime tied at 5-5 after Patrick Sharp scored on a power play at 11:19.
Sharp's goal put the Hawks ahead for the third time at 5-4.
"It was entertaining hockey and a lot of fun, especially with us winning," Sharp said. "Two good teams. It's easy to say that because we won, but this has been a great series.
"We feel good about going home, best of three with two home games, but I don't think it matters where we play. Boston has been tough to play against in their building and they've been tough in Chicago."
Patrice Bergeron's goal 2:05 into the third period on a shot Crawford probably would like back tied the game 4-4. The Hawks had leads of 1-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4 and couldn't hold off the Bruins.
"They keep coming," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're a hardworking team with skill on all their lines. They have a mobile and active defense. They have big shots. Defensively you're always going to get challenged and tested, but I thought we did a better job of our offense putting some pressure on their defense."
There were 5 goals scored in the second period alone, 3 by the Hawks.
In a wild second period that couldn't end fast enough for the Hawks, goals by Toews and Patrick Kane a little more than two minutes apart snapped a 1-1 tie.
Both goals were set up by Michal Rozsival point shots.
Quenneville again pushed the right button by reuniting Toews, Kane and Bickell as a line.
Toews got his second goal of the playoffs at 6:33 when he tipped a Rozsival right point shot past Rask.
Kane got his seventh goal of the playoffs at 8:41 when he got a long rebound of a shot by Bickell and backhanded it past Rask.
Excerpted from Unstoppable! by The Daily Herald. Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
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