In the end, it’s all about survival.
From 30 teams, to 16, to eight, to four, then just two, and finally only one.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup champions. They beat the Boston Bruins, 3-2, on Monday night at TD Garden in a game that was far from dominated by the victors.
Two late goals — one at 18:44 of the third period, the next at 19:01 — gave Chicago its second title in four years.
This after Boston had ruled the ice for the first period, the Bruins arguably playing their best 20 minutes of the series, yet only managing to build a 1-0 lead.
Like how the ‘Hawks survived the Detroit Red Wings in the second round, falling behind 3-1 then battling back to win Game 7 in overtime.
Like how they survived a powerless power play that scored just once in 19 tries during the final, an affliction that doomed the last team to meet Boston for the Cup.
Individually, Patrick Kane may have won the Conn Smythe Trophy, but there was no singular hero for Chicago during this run.
In the final, Corey Crawford could’ve crumpled after Game 4; instead, he allowed just three goals in Games 5 and 6.
Jonathan Toews, knowing his team needed more than defensive excellence from its captain, showed up on the score-sheet when he had to.
Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith all made their contributions during the playoffs, as expected.
Less expected: Brent Seabrook’s two overtime winners.
And remember when Bryan Bickell couldn’t miss? He scored another big one tonight.
After Michal Handzus was traded from San Jose, some people said he was finished. Well, he wasn’t.
Perhaps it was perfectly appropriate then that Dave Bolland — a player that had a tough season by most measures — scored the biggest goal of them all.
“This team finds ways,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Until tonight, that sort of refrain had been mostly reserved for the Bruins. But for Boston, which was once a single goal away from taking a commanding 3-1 series lead, there would be no surviving the resilient Blackhawks.
“The resiliency of our team was in place all year long,” said Quenneville.
“But it was one of those seasons, fairytale ending and an amazing season.”