The streak is over.
Chicago’s nine-year playoff streak is far from the longest in franchise history, but it brought the most hardware. The Blackhawks won three Stanley Cups (2010, ‘13, ‘15) and went 3-2 in the Western Conference Final from 2009-15. Chicago won 16 of their 24 playoff series the last nine years. The Hawks were bounced from the first round four times in that span, with back-to-back setbacks in ‘11 and ‘12 and ‘16 and ‘17.
The Hawks first Cup during the streak came in 2010, when they won the Central Division title and advanced to their second straight Western Conference Final by defeated Nashville and Vancouver in six games. Chicago swept San Jose in the conference final to advance to the Cup Final for the first time since 1992. The Hawks and Flyers each won two games on home ice. Chicago won Game 5 then Patrick Kane scored the Cup-winning goal only 4 minutes into overtime in Game 6 for Chicago to capture its first Cup since 1961, which was the longest active Cup drought at the time. Captain Jonathan Toews won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
Only two years later, Chicago won its second Cup. The Hawks started the lockout-shortened season by setting the NHL record for most games to start a season with a regulation loss at 24. They finished the season with the best record to win their second Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. Chicago dispatched Minnesota in five games in the first round before rallying from a 3-1 series deficit against longtime rival Detroit in the second round on Brent Seabrook ’s overtime goal in Game 7. Then in the conference final, the Hawks defeated defending champion Los Angeles in five games.
The Cup Final was one of the best in recent memories with three of the first four games in the series going to overtime, including Game 1 which went three overtimes before Andrew Shaw won the game for Chicago. The Hawks trailed 2-1 in the series, but rallied for three straight wins to capture its second Cup in three years. With a 3-2 series lead, Chicago was down 2-1 with less than two minutes to go in Game 6 and Boston looked like it was going to send the series to Game 7. But Bryan Bickell scored the game-tying goal with 76 seconds remaining in the game. Only 17 seconds after Bickell’s goal, Dave Bolland scored the game-winner.
Two years later, Chicago was the toast of the city again with its third Cup win in five years. The run to the playoffs wasn’t as easy as the previous two Cup wins. Kane suffered a broken clavicle in late February and missed the rest of the regular season. The Hawks recalled rookie Teuvo Teravainen from the AHL and acquired three players: Antoine Vermette, Kimmo Timonen and Andrew Desjardins for the stretch run. Chicago claimed the third spot in the Central Division and entered the postseason without knowing whether Kane, the team’s leading scorer at the time of his injury, would return to his normal self. And he did.
The Hawks ousted Nashville in six games and swept Minnesota in the second round to advance to the conference final for the fifth time in seven years. Down 3-2 in the series to top-seeded Anaheim after back-to-back overtime games, Chicago bounced back with two wins to claim the series in seven games. After winning Game 1 against Tampa Bay, the Hawks dropped the next two to face a 2-1 series deficit. Chicago won the next three games to capture the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938.
Due to several roster changes because of the NHL’s salary cap and large contracts only six players were with Chicago for the entire playoff streak: Niklas Hjalmarsson, Kane, Duncan Keith, Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Toews.
Marian Hossa, who signed with the Hawks as a free agent July 1, 2009, is the only other player to win three Cups with Chicago. Bickell played four games during the 2010 Cup run and was given a championship ring, but his name was not inscribed on the Cup.
The longest playoff streak in Chicago franchise history is 28 years from 1969-70 through 1996-97. Chicago did not win the Cup during that run and made only three trips to the Cup Final. Boston holds the longest playoff streak in NHL history by one year over Chicago with 29 years from 1967-68 through 1995-96.