Seventeen seconds. That’s all it took.
Those few, precious ticks of the clock were enough for the Chicago Blackhawks to orchestrate the most stunning comeback in Stanley Cup Final history, erasing Boston’s 2-1 lead in Game 6 to hoist Lord Stanley’s mug for the second time in four seasons.
“This goal, this ending,” Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said following the game. “Nobody saw it coming.”
No, they didn’t. A quick refresher of how it all went down:
From a historical standpoint, the goals from Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland will stand for a long time. Bolland etched his name in the record books by scoring the latest Cup-winning goal in regulation time — Boston’s Bill Carson held the previous mark, tallying with 1:58 left in the deciding game of the 1929 Final — and with that, the ‘Hawks became the first team in NHL history to win a Cup-clinching game by overcoming a deficit in the final two minutes.
From a personal standpoint, the game was significant as well. Brough and I were supposed to go to Chicago in the event of a Game 7. When Boston’s Milan Lucic scored to give his team a 2-1 lead with under eight minutes left, I went ahead and booked flights to the Windy City and started looking at hotels on Mag Mile — because hey, no way the Bruins were going to blow this in Boston.
Just a short while after patting myself on the back for making travel arrangements so quickly (and efficiently!) I watched in stunned silence as the ‘Hawks put together one of the greatest, wildest and most improbable comebacks in the history of sports. I was left to contemplate exactly what I just saw.
I was also left with an airline voucher and one free continental breakfast.
That anecdote sums up the ’13 Stanley Cup playoffs pretty well, in that it was dumb to expect the expected. This was the same postseason, after all, in which Boston rallied from a 4-1 deficit in Game 7 of the first round to beat Toronto; Chicago thought they had the go-ahead goal late in Game 7 of the Detroit series, only to have it controversially waved off; the high-octane Penguins scored two measly goals and got swept in the Eastern Conference finals.
Chicago winning the way it did just fit, for lack of a better term. It was wild, it was unpredictable and it was unforgettable. The perfect end to a crazy postseason.
Well, unless you’re a Bruins fan.