When it seemed like the Boston Bruins would be sending their fans home happy, knowing that they would be going back to the United Center in Chicago to play the Blackhawks for one final game to decide who would hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup, the unthinkable happened. An incredible storyline unfolded like only it can in playoff hockey. The Bruins saw their Stanley Cup aspirations flash before their eyes – literally. In 17 seconds, they went from forcing a game seven to seeing the Stanley Cup awarded on their home ice.
After a goal by the Bruins’ Chris Kelly in the first period and a shorthanded goal scored by Blackhawks’ captain, Jonathan Toews, through two periods the East and Western Conference champions were tied at 1-1, in what once again was a hardnosed, defensive-minded game.
As the minutes ticked away in the third period, it seemed clearer and clearer that the game was taking on a sudden death mentality; whoever scored the next goal was going to come out on top.
After Boston received sustained pressure from their first line pairing of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton, Krejci controlled the puck behind Chicago’s net and found Lucic in front of Chicago goaltender, Corey Crawford. Lucic, arguably the best player in the Stanley Cup final, took two whacks at the puck, and the second one made its way passed Crawford to give the Bruins the huge lead. With less than eight minutes left in regulation, it began to look like Boston would force a game seven.
With less than 90 seconds remaining and the Blackhawks’ net empty, Toews had the puck deep in Boston’s zone and found left winger Bryan Bickell in front of the net, who promptly shot the puck over the Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask’s outstretched arm.
The fire was reignited within every player on the Blackhawks’ bench. The game was back to “next goal wins”. It is in these moments, when time is running out, with the championship on the line that someone steps up and becomes a hero. It is the dream scenario for most 10-year old hockey players in their backyard rinks and on snowy neighbourhood streets. They want to be the player that scores the goal to win the Stanley Cup, and on a very humid June 24, that man was David Bolland.
Bolland buried the puck right in front of Rask’s crease with 59 seconds left in the game and joyously skated to the end boards, losing his gloves and stick in the process.
The Blackhawks staved off the Bruins’ last-ditch effort to up the hockey game and as the final horn sounded, excitement erupted on the Blackhawks’ bench and surely all across Chicago. Toews, as captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, was awarded the Stanley Cup by Commissioner Gary Bettman for the second time in four years, while Blackhawks’ right winger Patrick Kane was named Conn Smythe winner, for being the Most Valuable Player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.