Tonight the Bruins came out exactly how they wanted to with a vengeance, dominating every second of the first period. They controlled the play through the entire twenty minute time frame, being strong on the forecheck and back check and using their bodies in every way possible. Patrice Bergeron looked good despite some early speculation, but it would in fact be Jaromir Jagr who the team had to worry about as he tallied just four shifts for a total of 3:03 of ice time. In order to pressure the ‘Hawks and force game 7, they needed to continue bringing the offensive pressure and take as many shots as possible at the high slots to expose Crawford’s weaknesses.
A sigh of relief washed over the fans of Boston as they scoped the bench to find that Jaromir Jagr was in fact still present, despite the hyphenated minutes of play. However, the ‘Hawks came prepared to fight back and while they remained shorthanded through the opening minutes, the Bruins momentum began to shift. The game-tying goal would come off of a Zdeno Chara mistake in the neutral zone that Jonathan Toews was able to take and excel towards Rask, easily beating him. As the clock winded down the Bruins found themselves in the familiar rut of back and forth play that was their demise in games 4 and 5. With the period drawing to a close, the game remained deadlocked at a single goal and the physicality running as high as it could get.
“We came out excited, won that (1st) period, lost this one. We have to continue to play on our toes. Be aggressive.” –Torey Krug in an interview with 98.5 the Sports Hub during intermission
While the Blackhawks got the first shot on net just 20 seconds into the third frame, the Bruins remained calm and collected, praising their teammates and cheering them on. At the 12:11 mark Milan Lucic electrified the fans at the TD Garden as he netted the go-ahead goal. Corey Crawford got caught behind his net with the Bruins surging behind him, David Krejci winning possession and able to get the puck out in front. Crawford, expecting a quick release from Lucic or Horton, immediately dropped to his knees into the butterfly position. Unfortunately for him, Lucic waited the extra half-second and was able to bank the puck off of the goalie’s blocker and post for a 2-1 Boston lead. With 1:24 remaining the crowd was on their feet and the ‘Hawks pulled Crawford for the extra attacker. As the clock hit 1:16 Bickell had managed to weasel his way into the crease to tie the game once more. What happened next is something that Bruins fans will question for days, possibly years to come. In a matter of 17 seconds Chicago burst with energy and managed to light the lamp one final time, sealing the fate of the 2013 season and eliminating the Bruins on their home territory.
While it’s easy as Boston fans to be upset, we can take pride in knowing that the Cup didn’t go to an undeserving team. The Chicago Blackhawks came into the abbreviated season ready to fight and claim the Stanley Cup from their insane winning run at the start of the season in January. They never let up all season long and battled with everything that they had. In all honesty, the Cup couldn’t have gone to a more deserving team. As Chicago embarks on their summer vacation celebrating and rejoicing, the Bruins get to recoup after suffering from a barrage of injuries ranging from broken ribs and separated shoulders to a broken fibula. While the Blackhawks prepare to get over the inevitable ‘Cup hangover,’ the Bruins will be working out and planning for the season ahead. The only question that remains for the moment… is it October yet?