Ten years ago today, the Blackhawks defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime to win their fourth Stanley Cup championship and end their 49-year title drought. The Second City Hockey staff rewatched Chicago’s Cup-clinching Game 6 and broke it down period-by-period to offer their thoughts on the start of a modern-day dynasty.
The Bulls never needed a Game 7 to win a championship series. The White Sox swept the Astros in 2005 (people forget that). The Blackhawks are going to end this now, right? It feels inevitable after a seven-goal outburst in Game 5, and yet there’s a strange, lingering anxious feeling after all these years maybe they screw it up. After all, the home team has won each game of the series. And wouldn’t it be a better story if they won on home ice after 49 years?
The Blackhawks had a strong start to the game, most noticeably Marian Hossa, who refused to be knocked off the puck in the opening 39 seconds of the game. About five minutes in, Chicago had a good sustained sequence in the offensive zone, and Duncan Keith helped maintain possession when he kept the puck in the zone near the blue line. The Flyers eventually got the puck out the zone to slow things down, but the Blackhawks are feeling it.
Both teams had some odd-man rush attempts, but couldn’t come up with a clean pass to generate much of anything. The pace in this game through the first 10 minutes, from both teams, is significantly better than the previous five games in the series.
Chris Pronger took a holding penalty for grabbing Hossa below the goal line. Keith had a shot go off the post for the only scoring chance on the man advantage, and Jonathan Toews wasn’t able to tap in the rebound. Keith then tied up Ville Leino’s stick to prevent a scoring chance in front of Antti Niemi before Brent Seabrook made a great defensive play on James van Riemsdyk.
The Blackhawks killed off Brent Sopel’s first interference penalty with ease as the Flyers failed to connect on their pass attempts. Pronger then took a high-sticking penalty, and the Blackhawks took advantage. Patrick Kane sent a pass to the goal line to Toews, who found Dustin Byfuglien in front to tap it in for a 1-0 lead with 3:06 remaining in the period.
Chicago’s momentum was wiped out six seconds later when Seabrook took an elbowing penalty, but luckily the Blackhawks penalty kill unit was up for the task highlighted by Niklas Hjalmarsson blocking a shot with his chest.
But eight seconds after the kill, Sopel committed his second interference penalty of the period with 53 seconds remaining. Scott Hartnell capitalized with a power-play goal on a rebound in front with 27 seconds left in the period to send the game into the first intermission at 1-1 and a 17-7 shot advantage for Chicago.
It was a real strange start to the period. Just 30 seconds in, Marian Hossa fanned on a pass at center ice and Simon Gagne had a 100-feet breakaway — even the immortal have their faults, apparently. Antti Niemi made the save to keep the game tied.
Chicago had a power play that went without a goal, but there was a smooth zone entry that consisted of Brian Campbell weaving through four Flyers to establish possession in the offensive zone. I adored 2010 Campbell.
The Blackhawks team speed is so noticeable. It’s not just the skating, although the majority of this team moved well. It’s how fast they decided to move the puck and the hard, crisp passes from tape to tape. There’s rarely a moment when the puck or the players aren’t moving. They didn’t just skate fast: they played fast.
Keith tripped Hartnell, opening a lane for a Daniel Briere to drive the net in a mini 2-on-1 that Briere — Philadelphia’s leading scorer that postseason — wasn’t going to miss. From the moment Keith went down, it felt like something was going to happen.
On the ensuing faceoff, Andrew Ladd briefly tangled with Claude Giroux, leading Braydon Coburn cross-checking Ladd in the face. Nine seconds after taking the lead, the Flyers were shorthanded. Doesn’t seem like a sound strategy, does it?
The power play was negated by a Hossa penalty for goaltender interference (which prompted and incredulous “What?!” from Pierre McGuire) but, during 4-on-4 play, Patrick Sharp scored on a soft goal through Michael Leighton’s five-hole. Whatever momentum Philadelphia had owned after Briere’s goal now ceased to exist.
For the rest of the period, the Flyers crowd oozed the specific type of anxiety that emerges when sports fans feel the game in front of them is spinning out of their team’s control. It only got worse as Chicago controlled much of the play for the final half of the second period. Confirming the worst fears of those anxious Flyers fans, Ladd scored with 2:17 remaining, redirecting a Hjalmarsson slapper and pushing the Flyers to the edge of the cliff.
This is my first time watching this game since I became a fan during the 2013 lockout. My father hadn’t forgiven the Wirtz family yet, it is what it is.
The Blackhawks entered this period with a 3-2 lead and thumping the Flyers 48-36 in shot attempts and 27 shots to Philadelphia’s 13, although much of the action was on the special teams, as Chicago only held a 30-24 Corsi advantage and 17-9 shot advantage in 5-on-5 action.
Hossa started the period by putting Pronger into the bench, a significant feat during a somewhat rough game for the winger. This was an amazingly poor game from him, even before the kicked-in goal.
Corey Crawford would have been a better goaltender than .880 throughout these playoffs. Guaranteed. As much as the Flyers can say, what would have happened if we had a different goaltender, well, they had eight years of instability in that position after this. The Blackhawks had a franchise guy the very next year. Who’s the real what if.
Fast, quick-response Seabrook was real good. Five years after the last real glimpses of that, we forget it too often.
People really think this team was better than 2013? OK. I understand the team speed angle, and how dominant this team was in terms of possession throughout this game, and Byfuglien figured in prominently in Game 5, but give me Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Johnny Oduya and Crawford any day. Speaking of Oduya, every time I see Hjalmarsson I’m immediately looking for Oduya and also immediately disappointed.
This period goes by very fast. I love those long, uninterrupted stretches of hockey we see — especially in the playoffs.
Even knowing the outcome, the tying goal by Hartnell with 4:59 to go is a heartbreak. This was such a bad game for Hossa, guy must have thought he was legitimately cursed until he finally lifted the Cup. Even on that stunning save in the waning minutes, Niemi’s rebound control is dismal. I’ve seen basketballs give up fewer bounces.
That’s a rather poor start there, as Keith gives away the puck before his own net.
It’s amazing this is Kane’s first playoff overtime goal, considering his career afterward.
Kane deked and dangled around a future teammate in Kimmo Timonen around the lower portion of the left circle before throwing it on net. Kane celebrated, but no one else did.
That’s the messiest, or at least most chaotic, final moment in Cup Final history, isn’t it? The only two people in the entire arena who know it’s in are Kane and Leighton (judging by the look on his face when he removes his mask). Even without seeing the game, however, I have seen that moment enough and know it’s in before Kane takes the shot.