The Chicago Blackhawks earned their third Stanley Cup in six years, and won their first title on their home ice in 77 years, with a 2-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on Monday night at the United Center. Defenseman Duncan Keith, who played 715 minutes in the playoffs, unanimously won the Conn Smythe Trophy, and goalie Corey Crawford had one of his best postseason performances with 23 saves in his second shutout of the playoffs in the series clincher.
"It feels so great. You want to keep being a part of these things," said Keith, who scored the first goal, which came in the second period. "You don't get these awards without being on great teams with great players, and like I said, I'm just proud to be a part of this group of guys who cares so much and do whatever it takes."
Right winger Patrick Kane scored his first goal of the finals, to give Chicago a much-needed two-goal cushion. He got the puck past Ben Bishop with just over five minutes remaining, scoring off a no-look assist from young left wing Brandon Saad. It was the first time in the series that either team owned a two-goal advantage.
This is the sixth Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks, and the first time that they received the trophy on their home ice since 1938. The 22,424 in attendance were boisterous from the first drop of the puck.
"We won it for each other, for the city," Jonathan Toews said. "In so many ways, winning a championship like this in our home city, I think it really transcends the sport. Everyone wants to be a part of it. It's amazing."
"That's three Cups in six seasons. I'd say you have a dynasty," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the delighted crowd. The Blackhawks had previously won titles in 2010 and 2013, all under head coach Joel Quenneville.
In such a tight series, the Lightning may feel they caught some bad breaks. Bishop battled injury, and the once high-scoring attack failed to put enough pressure on the Chicago defense. It was a surprising scoring drought for such an accomplished first and second line. Steven Stamkos failed to score in eight consecutive games.
"Our goal scoring dried up. It wasn't for lack of trying," head coach Jon Cooper said. "The chances, posts, missed nets, open nets that hit sticks, you need those to go in for you to keep going. Ultimately, they dried up for us."