My Favorite Goal: Bolland clinches Cup for Blackhawks 17 seconds later

Dave Bolland Blackhawks
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Welcome to “My Favorite Goal,” a regular feature from NBC Sports where our writers and personalities remember the goals that have meant the most to them. These goals have left a lasting impression and there’s a story behind each one.

Today, Adam Gretz looks back at Dave Bolland’s goal to win the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup.

This isn’t necessarily about the goal itself.

It wasn’t a highlight-reel play, or a superstar putting the puck in the net with a signature move, or even a team or player that I had any particular personal rooting interest in.

It was about the moment. The experience. And everything that came along with it and everything that followed it.

It was Game 6 the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins, and the Stanley Cup itself was in the building.

At that point I had been writing about hockey full-time for about five years and had already attended hundreds of games for work and as a hockey fan. Regular season games, outdoor games, playoff games, and yes, several Cup Final games. One thing I had never had the opportunity to witness in person was the Stanley Cup actually being handed out.

On this night, it was a possibility as the Blackhawks and Bruins took the ice with the former holding a 3-2 series lead.

It became a reality when Dave Bolland jammed a loose puck into the back of the net with 58 seconds to play in, capping off an insane final two minutes in what is still one of the most exciting hockey games I have ever had the joy of witnessing in person.

The goal itself was the definition of an “ugly” goal.

An innocent shot from the blue line gets thrown at the net, while a third-liner crashes the crease and is in the right place at the right time to pounce on a rebound off the goal post and put it in the net.

At this point the Blackhawks’ dynasty hadn’t been born yet. They had won their first Stanley Cup (2010), but a salary cap crunch had ripped apart a lot of its depth and that first championship was followed by consecutive first-round losses (to Vancouver in 2011 and to Arizona in 2012). The potential was there, but their legacy could have still gone either way

In this particular postseason Jonathan Toews — later known for being one of the most clutch players in the league — was getting absolutely crushed for a lack of production (he scored just one goal in his first 20 playoff games), starting goalie Corey Crawford was having both his glove and blocker side brutally criticized and scrutinized, and even Patrick Kane had gone seven consecutive games at one point in the playoffs without scoring a goal.

Even with all of that the Blackhawks were still just one game away from winning another championship. It was a testament to how deep of a roster they had assembled, and just how good the entire team was that their best players could slump for so long and they could still just be a game away from a championship.

The game itself was full of scoring chances, close calls, near misses, and some great goaltending that kept it a 1-1 game for the first 53 minutes. Then, with just seven minutes to play in regulation, Milan Lucic scored to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead. It was then that everyone started to prepare for what seemed to be an inevitable Game 7. It wasn’t just a possibility, it was simply going to happen. There was no way the league’s best defensive team at the time (Boston), with Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Tuukka Rask all at the height of their power as players, was going to give up that lead, in that game, in that building.

Simply. Not. Happening.

As the clock ticked away, I was doing the same thing every other writer in the press box and/or media room was doing — putting the finishing touches on an initial column on how the Bruins had forced a Game 7 and ready to submit as soon as the clock hit zero.

And then, with 1:16 to play, it all started.

Bryan Bickell tied the game for Chicago, forcing everyone to put their Game 7 plans on hold and start preparing for overtime in Game 6.

Those new plans would only last for 17 seconds.

Because that’s how long it took for Bolland to follow Bickell’s goal and score the game-winner.

There are so many things I remember about that moment. The deafening, stunned silence of TD Garden minus the emphatic cheers of the thousand or so Blackhawks fans in attendance. Bolland forgetting that there were still 58 seconds to play in regulation and throwing his stick and gloves to the ice as if he had scored an overtime goal. Me highlighting every word of the story I had written about a Bruins win and hitting the “delete” button to start over with an entirely new story. The adrenaline of rushing down to the tunnel and waiting to get on the ice to conduct player interviews for the winning team. Actually walking around on the ice while players still celebrated with the Cup. Then frantically writing a new story on the Blackhawks’ second championship (the first team to win multiple Cups in the salary cap era). Going back to my hotel at 2:30 in the morning, and staying awake for the next four hours — still trying to comprehend the insane comeback I had just witnessed — to catch an early train back home.

But the madness did not stop there.

It is incredible to look back at the sequence of events that goal and that game set into motion.

The Blackhawks as a team were now on their way to becoming a mini-dynasty.

The Bruins, just 76 seconds away from forcing a Game 7 where anything could have happened (maybe they win and become the dynasty?), ended up making Tyler Seguin their scapegoat (something they highlighted and put out there for public consumption) and traded him to Dallas in a deal they would have literally nothing to show for just a couple of years later.

The Blackhawks, facing another salary cap crunch, traded Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs just six days after he clinched a championship for them. He would play one injury-shortened season for them before signing a huge free agent contract with the Florida Panthers, something they may not have happened had his 2013 postseason gone the way it did. 

I did not care who won the game or the series. I just wanted to experience a good series and maybe get a chance to see something cool happen.

It all delivered, and there still is not a goal that stands out to me more, even if the goal itself was relatively simple.

PREVIOUSLY ON MY FAVORITE GOAL:
Darren McCarty shows off goal-scoring hands during 1997 Cup Final
Alex Ovechkin scores ‘The Goal’ as a rookie
Marek Malik’s stunning shootout winner
Paul Henderson scores for Canada
• Mario Lemieux’s end-to-end masterpiece; Hextall scores again
Tomas Hertl goes between-the-legs
Borschevsky’s goal sealed with a kiss

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Predators-Avalanche postponed due to water main break

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Friday’s game between the Nashville Predators and the Colorado Avalanche has been postponed because of a water main break that has soaked the downtown arena.

The NHL said the water main break has “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

“We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store.

The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

A makeup date for the  game will be announced later.

Also, a decision on whether to postpone the Predators’ home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets will be made later.

The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue in Nashville for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

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TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.

Carrier, Pietrangelo rally Golden Knights past Canucks 5-4

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Alex Pietrangelo scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and had two assists as the Vegas Golden Knights rallied past the Vancouver Canucks 5-4 on Monday night.

William Carrier scored twice and Mark Stone had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (15-4-1), who overcame a 4-2 deficit in the third. Reilly Smith also scored, while Jack Eichel and Alec Martinez each had two assists.

Logan Thompson made 25 saves for Vegas, which had a go-ahead goal wiped out in the third but still kept pushing.

“I don’t think that’s really how we drew it up,” Pietrangelo said. “A lot of emotions. Obviously we score and then it gets taken back. But I’ll tell you what, it’s not easy to win on the road and you’ve got to give credit to our group – we were resilient no matter what happened.”

Vancouver (6-10-3) got a goal and an assist from Andrei Kuzmenko. Bo Horvat, Luke Schenn and Elias Pettersson also scored, and Quinn Hughes had two assists.

Thatcher Demko stopped 33 shots for the Canucks, who gave up a multi-goal lead in a loss for the seventh time this season.

“Inexcusable,” defenseman Luke Schenn said.

“That’s nothing to do with systems or what the coaches are telling us. That comes down to battle and compete and, we’re getting outmuscled and outbattled in front of the net and in the blue paint,” he added. “Everyone just needs to be better in front of (Demko) there and that’s where games are won and lost.”

Vegas appeared to take the lead midway through the third period, but the goal was disallowed because of a bizarre bounce.

A clearing attempt by the Canucks hit the lens of a camera sticking through one of the media holes in the glass, knocking a piece of it onto the ice. Play continued at that end and Stone put the puck in the net. But after a video review, the goal was overturned and an official said the whistle should have been blown to stop play.

About four minutes later, Pietrangelo did give the Golden Knights a 5-4 advantage when he collected a puck from Stone and sent a backhand past Demko from the low slot at 14:14.

Vancouver scored three straight goals early in the third to go up 4-2 before Vegas roared back.

“We let them score one, kind of changed the momentum quick and then they scored another one. So I don’t know,” Pettersson said. “We just can’t let that happen. It’s been happening way too many times this season.”

Carrier made it 4-3 with his second of the night at 6:54, sending in a rebound from the top of the crease for his sixth of the season.

“Once they scored one it was like, `Uh oh, here we go again.’ And we’re back on our heels and they came at us, and then they got three,” Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Smith shoveled a puck into the Vancouver net at 8:57 to tie it.

“We just win some pucks below their goal line and get it to the front of the net and force them to defend an area they haven’t done as good a job as they’d probably like this year there,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We didn’t do a very good job to start a third there, and then it snowballs a little bit. You have a little life and you get a couple more pucks to the net and a second chance.”

ON A ROLL

Horvat drew the Canucks even 1:47 into the third with a wrist shot from the hash marks. Vancouver’s captain has 15 goals, second-most in the NHL behind Connor McDavid (16). … Brock Boeser‘s assist on the first goal of the game extended his point streak to seven games (two goals, six assists).

MARKING MILESTONES

Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault played his 500th regular-season NHL game. Now in his 10th season, the 31-year-old center suited up for Columbus, Tampa Bay and Florida before Vegas selected him in the 2017 expansion draft. … Vancouver defenseman Ethan Bear made his 200th regular-season appearance.

UP NEXT

Golden Knights: Host the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game homestand.

Canucks: Begin a three-game trip Wednesday at Colorado.