Hockey Week in America continues Thursday with some notable Stanley Cup clinchers.
Trailing the series 3-2, the Bruins looked like they would force a Game 7 when they took a 2-1 lead late into the third period of Game 6. But when Chicago’s Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart, the Hawks shocked the Boston crowd to earn a 3-2 victory and captured their second Stanley Cup in four years.
You can catch the dramatic Game 6 finish and more Stanley Cup clinchers Thursday night on NBCSN beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
THURSDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Blackhawks vs. Bruins (Game 6, 2013 Stanley Cup Final) – 7 p.m. ET
• Capitals vs. Golden Knights (Game 5, 2018 Stanley Cup Final) – 9 p.m. ET
• Penguins vs. Red Wings (Game 7, 2009 Stanley Cup Final) – 11 p.m. ET
• Blackhawks vs. Flyers (Game 6, 2010 Stanley Cup Final) – 1 a.m. ET
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 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.
As 2019 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at the past decade. We’ll remember the best players and teams, most significant goals, and biggest transactions that have happened since 2010. Let us know your memories in the comments.
What does everybody want? Goals! What does everybody need? Goals! What does everybody love? Goals!
From Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 23, 2019 there were 65,439 regular season goals scored in the NHL. The Penguins (2,425) had the most, while the Devils (1,892) had the fewest if you’re counting teams that played the entire decade (Vegas has 633 total).
While there have been tons of beautiful goals scored at various levels of hockey around the world, we wanted to hone in on the ones that meant the most. Not the prettiest, but the biggest, most significant goals of the last 10 years. Some won championships, others were the final part of a drama.
Five days after Canada won 5-4 following a shootout in the preliminary round, the Americans got their revenge. Carlson’s overtime goal helped the U.S. win their first gold medal since 2004 and snapped Canada’s streak of six straight golds. It also began a decade of growth on the junior level for the program. U.S. teams at the World Juniors have won three gold medals since 2010 and seven medals in the last 10 tournaments.
Iggy! (2010 Winter Olympics)
Zach Parise gave the U.S. hope when he tied the game with 25 seconds left in the third period. But it was Crosby who delivered Canada gold as he called for the pass from Jarome Iginla and slid the puck by Ryan Miller for the country’s second gold medal in three Olympic Games.
How much did the goal resonate? Crosby’s stick, gloves, the puck, and the net used in the game at GM Place were put on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
At first only three people inside Wachovia Center — Kane, Patrick Sharp and Nick Boynton — knew the location of the puck. The rest of their Blackhawks teammates, the Flyers, including goaltender Michael Leighton, and the closest official had no idea, until upon closer inspection it was discovered a goal had been scored and the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup champions.
Alex Burrows slays the dragon (2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
The Canucks had their Stanley Cup dreams ended in Round 2 two consecutive playoffs at the hands of the Blackhawks. Both the 2009 and 2010 series ended in six games, but the third time would be the charm for Vancouver and Burrows would be the hero. Chris Campoli’s clearance was blocked by Burrows, who then fled into the Chicago zone and fired a rocket by Antti Niemi, earning himself the “dragon slayer” nickname.
Bergeron completes the comeback vs. Maple Leafs (2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
The Maple Leafs were looking good up 4-1 midway through the third period of Game 7 against the Bruins and eyeing their first playoff series win in nine years. But then it all fell apart. Nathan Horton cut the lead to 4-2 with 10:42 to go and a wild final two minutes in the third period ended with Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron scoring 31 seconds apart to force overtime.
A few weeks after their series win over the Maple Leafs, the Bruins were on the other end of a dramatic comeback, one that would end their season. Boston held a 2-1 lead late in Game 6, hoping to hang on and force a Game 7 in Chicago. With the Blackhawks’ net empty, it was Brian Bickell tying the game with 1:16 to play. As many were preparing to see overtime, Bolland had other ideas as 17 seconds later he pounced on a rebound in front to send the Blackhawks to a second Cup win in four years.
There was no medal on the line. The only meaning to the game was that the winner avoided the qualification round. A shootout was needed and the U.S. turned to T.J. Oshie, who scored on four of his six attempts to help the Americans beat Russia 3-2.
The game took place in the early hours of a Saturday morning in the U.S., and the reactions from around the country of fans who gathered in local bars to watch showed the impact of the victory. (It also provided us with this amazing photo.)
Poulin shatters American dreams again (2014 Winter Olympics)
The U.S. should have claimed gold. Up 2-1 with under two minutes to play, Kelli Stack’s shot toward an empty net clanked off the post and gave Canada life. Thirty-one seconds later Marie-Philip Poulin broke the Americans’ hearts for the first time that day, tying the game with 54.6 seconds left. She did it again in overtime to continue Canada’s gold medal run at the Olympics.
This wasn’t the first time Philip-Poulin shattered American dreams. Four years earlier she scored both goals to lead her country to gold over the U.S. at the Vancouver Games.
Martinez the Cup winning King (2014 Stanley Cup Final)
One overtime wasn’t enough for the Kings and Rangers, who settled the 2014 Cup Final with a second extra period. With the Kings leading the series 3-1, the fans inside Staples Center were chanting We Want the Cup! and Martinez, who scored the overtime winner in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final, delivered leading a rush into the Rangers’ zone and burying a feed from Tyler Toffoli to help franchise capture its first championship.
Islanders finally advance to Round 2 (2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
The eighth time was the charm. Since the spring of 1993 when David Volek shattered Pittsburgh’s three-peat dreams and the Islanders reached the conference final, the franchise could not find a way out of the first round of the playoffs. But a second consecutive 100-point season was boosted by captain Tavares’ double overtime wraparound to get the monkey off their backs.
Kunitz keeps Penguins’ back-to-back dreams alive (2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
It was a goal that sent two franchises in two different directions. Kunitz’s goal sent the Penguins to the Cup Final that season, which they could win in six games over the Predators to give the NHL back-to-back champs for the first time in two decades. The goal also ended a memorable run by the Senators, who topped the Bruins and Rangers to reach the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2007. Since that night, Ottawa has failed to make the playoffs, failed to reach 67 points and win more than 28 games in a season. They also said goodbye to players like Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Mike Hoffman, Ryan Dzingel, and Derick Brassard, among others.
Kuznetsov’s winner exorcises demons (2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
It seemed like the Capitals were never going to win the Stanley Cup unless they beat the Penguins. They hadn’t topped their old rivals in seven straight playoff series dating back to 1994, but this one felt different. The back-and-forth series finally came to an end when Evgeny Kuznetsov slipped the puck five-hole on Matt Murray, sending Washington on a path that would end with its first championship.
The game had it all (2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
After blowing a 3-1 series lead the Golden Knights were up 3-1 on the Sharks in Game 7 and things were looking good. But then Cody Eakin cross-checked Joe Pavelski, who fell awkwardly and hit his head on the ice, causing the game to stop for several minutes. Eakin was given a major penalty and game misconduct, opening the door for the San Jose power play to score four times in four minutes to completely alter the game. In overtime, Barclay Goodrow made the SAP Center roof fly off with the winning goal to send the Sharks to Round 2.
Maroon’s goal cues Play Gloria! (2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs)
It was fitting that the St. Louisan returns home on a one-year deal and scores one of the biggest goals of the season. Round 2, Game 7 against the Dallas Stars and it was Maroon who played hero inside Enterprise Center. The goal set off wild celebrations on the ice and and in the bowels of the arena as the Laura Branigan song Gloria played over and over. Thirty-six days later the Blues would win their first Cup to kick off a summer of partying.
CHICAGO — It’s hard to believe now, but in 2007, when John McDonough was named president of the Blackhawks, the franchise had devolved into an afterthought in the Windy City.
Monday at the United Center, right before Jonathan Toews hoisted the Stanley Cup for the third time in the last six years, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman proclaimed to the fans, “I’d say you have a dynasty.”
Funny what assembling a core of four future Hall of Famers — Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Marian Hossa — can do for a franchise’s fortunes.
Add secondary stars like Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson, get a good coach, a smart general manager, draft well, develop well, throw in a little luck, and the result is the first team worthy of the “dynasty” label in the salary-cap era.
“We’ve had to fight through some things, but it was worth every second of it,” said McDonough, speaking to reporters at center ice while the players and their young families celebrated around him.
“To see these guys mature into young adults, into grown men. Most of our guys when I started here were single. Now there’s babies all over the place.”
There will be those who question whether these Blackhawks are truly a dynasty. They haven’t won four straight Cups, like the Montreal Canadiens did from 1975-79, or the New York Islanders from 1980-83. They haven’t won five in seven years like the 1980s Oilers. Twice in the past six years Chicago has been eliminated in the first round.
When asked to weigh in on the dynasty debate, Kane replied, “I don’t know what that means. We’ve got three in six years. I know that’s pretty good.”
Similarly, general manager Stan Bowman deferred to others.
“I don’t think that’s really for me to say,” he said. “That’s really for other people to make those proclamations. All I know is that we’ve got an amazing group here, they’ve accomplished a lot together, and I’m really proud of the effort they’ve given year after year. It doesn’t always go your way, but they’ve accomplished quite a bit and we’re not finished.”
Bowman has another tough summer ahead. The Blackhawks won’t be back in their entirety next season. Some will be forced out due to the salary cap. That’s the “reality” of the situation, as Johnny Oduya put it. That reality is why the likes of Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Brian Campbell, Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer, and Antti Niemi are playing elsewhere now.
“I think we’re going to enjoy this one for a bit,” said Bowman. “I’ve been thinking of that stuff for a long time. It’s not like it’s going to surprise me. We’ll make it work. We’ve got a plan in place. That’s really for another day. Right now we’re pretty thrilled with this whole scene in here.”
A decade ago, the Blackhawks were playing games before a half-empty arena, an Original Six franchise ignored.
Monday, they kicked off one of the great sports celebrations in this city’s history.
“Nobody really gives those kids any credit,” said Jagr of the young team in Florida. “How young they are, they’re so talented. They’re going to surprise the league in two years. They might win the cup the way and they’re going to get better and better. They don’t even have to do anything and they’re going to get better.”
Jussi Jokinen and Dave Bolland had the other Panthers goals while Dan Ellis made 25 saves for the win.
Florida has points in three straight games and five of their last six.
Senators captain Erik Karlsson scored his 20th of the season and Jean-Gabriel Pageau had the other for Ottawa. The Sens have lost three straight for the first time since Feb. 3-7.
Craig Anderson made his second straight start and made 33 saves in the loss.