The road to the Stanley Cup is a familiar one for the Blackhawks.
The ‘Hawks got to a championship series for the first time in 49 years in 2010 — and snapped the drought, defeating Philly in six games — then did the trick three years later, dispatching of the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, also in six games.
This year, Chicago is looking to travel down that road once more to become the first team since the ’97-98 Detroit Red Wings to hoist Lord Stanley two years in a row.
Let’s take a look at how the ‘Hawks got to where they are…
Round 1: Beat St. Louis 4-2
In one of the most exciting first-round series in recent memory, Chicago rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win four straight and dispatch of their longtime rival. The Blues looked to have things in control after winning consecutive overtime games to open the series, but the ‘Hawks showed their championship form by winning a pair of OT games of their own — including a crucial Game 5 at Scottrade in St. Louis — before closing it out at home at the United Center.
As per usual, it was Chicago’s dynamic duo leading the way. In Game 4, Patrick Kane scored the game-winner in overtime and, the next night out, it was “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews who provided the dramatics, capturing Game 5 with an OT winner on a breakaway against Ryan Miller.
Round 2: Beat Minnesota 4-2
In 2013, the ‘Hawks easily dispatched of the Wild in the opening playoff round, losing just once on the road to the Stanley Cup.
This year’s rematch would prove a much more difficult task.
Chicago came up against a tough, determined and stingy Minnesota team in Round 2, one that held the ‘Hawks to just six goals over the final four games of the series. But, in a familiar theme, it was the Blackhawks’ stars that made the difference in the end as Toews scored the game-winning goal in Game 5 — with less than 16 minutes remaining — before Kane once again provided the OT heroics in Game 6, flipping a backhand past Ilya Bryzgalov to move the ‘Hawks onto the Western Conference final.
“He’s a special player,” Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane, per ESPN. “Guys have that instinct, have that knack of finding pucks, wanting to be out there, wanting to score.”
Luckily for Kane, he’ll have plenty more opportunities to get out there and find the back of the net.