2013 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champions

The 2012-2013 NHL season got off to a late start.  The collective bargaining agreement had expired, and the players’ union and the owners couldn’t agree on new contract.  The lockout lasted almost three months, effectively cancelling 34 regular season games.  This long delay proved magical for the Chicago Blackhawks.

During the first 24 games of the season, the Blackhawks were never beaten.  According to Richard Cleary, a math professor at Bentley University, the Blackhawks’ win streak only comes around once every 700 years.

The early success of the Blackhawks had the team and the fans thinking about another Stanley Cup.

The Hawks easily clinched the the top seed in the Western Conference.  In the first round of the playoffs, they met the Minnesota Wild.  After going to OT in two of the games, the Hawks dispensed with the Wild 4-1.

The Hawks moved on to face their rivals the Detroit Red Wings, which would end up being one of the most epic playoff series ever.   The Hawks found themselves down 3-1, which is generally considered an insurmountable deficit.  The Hawks never doubted themselves.  They fought back to tie the series.   In the deciding Game 7, the Hawks and Wings went to OT, and Brent Seabrook scored the series clinching goal.

The Western Conference Finals brought a matchup with the Los Angeles Kings, who did not prove to be as formidable as the Wings.  The Hawks won the series 4-1.  They were moving on the Stanley Cup Finals to meet the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins and the Hawks would have an intense back and forth Finals.  The teams split Games 1 and 2, with both games heading to OT.  The Bruins shut out the Hawks in Game 3.  The Hawks bounced back and won Game 4 and 5.  Game 6 was a game for the ages.  The Bruins  took a 2-1 lead late into the third period.  With 76 seconds left in the game, Brian Bickell scored to tie the game.  The game looked like it was heading to OT, but seventeen seconds later, Dave Bolland scored, giving the Hawks the lead.  The Bruins failed to score, giving the Hawks the win and the Stanley Cup.

For an awesome look at some amazing photos from the season, the series, the celebration, and the parade, check out One Goal, by Bob Verdi.