Chicago defeats Tampa Bay to claim Stanley Cup
Keith scores winning goal, wins Conn Smythe Trophy
CHICAGO — Patrick Kane’s 15-foot wrist shot with 5:14 left in the third period sealed the Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup championship in six years, as Chicago defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 Monday at the United Center.
The Blackhawks captured the best-of-seven series four games to two to claim the Stanley Cup at home for the first time since 1938.
The championship is Chicago’s sixth, following titles in 1934, 1938, 1961, 2010 and 2013. The final series was the closest in history, with every game but Monday’s being decided by just one goal.
Kane’s goal gave Chicago the insurance it needed after defenseman Duncan Keith’s second-period goal opened the scoring. Kane, a right winger, also assisted on Keith’s goal.
The game was preceded by ominous pre-game tornado warnings and resulting sirens around the United Center, torrential rain and widespread flooding that made some fans late for the faceoff.
In addition, a small leak in the United Center roof displaced about a dozen fans, too.If Chicago and its fans could overcome all that, Tampa Bay didn’t stand a chance.Chicago goalie Corey Crawford starred in net, stopping all 25 shots he faced. Tampa Bay counterpart Ben Bishop, who missed much of the series due to an undisclosed injury, stopped 30 shots.
Of particular note, 40-year-old defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who agreed to be traded from the Philadelphia Flyers to Chicago in February to give him one last chance at winning a Cup championship, will now be able to retire as planned with that elusive title.
Chicago made its biggest stand of the game late in the third period after left winger Andrew Desjardins went to the penalty box for tripping. The Blackhawks kept Tampa Bay from scoring, preserving Crawford’s shutout.
Tampa Bay was penalized three times in the game, while Desjardins’ penalty was Chicago’s only infraction.
Keith gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 17:13 of the second period. Kane held the puck just inside the blue line and passed to Keith entering the offensive zone. Keith’s long slap shot was saved, but Keith followed his shot, got the rebound and slipped a 10-foot wrist shot past Bishop.
It was Keith’s third goal and 21st point of the playoffs.
After managing just four shots in the first period, Tampa Bay was more aggressive on offense in the second period, but Chicago still outshot the Lightning 10-7.Just a minute into the middle period, Lightning center Steven Stamkos had a breakaway and zoomed in on Crawford, who deftly turned away Stamkos’ 15-foot wrist shot.
Seven minutes later, Stamkos flattened Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, but there was no penalty called, drawing a loud chorus of boos from Blackhawks fans.
The Blackhawks came out firing on offense and stubborn on defense, outshooting the Lightning 13-4 in the opening 20 minutes.After much suspense, Tampa Bay started Bishop. Also, Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov, who was injured in Game 5 on Saturday at Tampa Bay, played but saw limited time.
NOTES: Not surprisingly, given it was the biggest game of the season, a Chicago season-high 22,424 fans attended (but still short of the all-time record of 22,819 set against the New York Rangers on Feb. 15, 1957). … Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, wearing a Blackhawks jersey, had front-row seats. The Cubs were supposed to play Monday night, but the game was rained out.