Defense Wins Championship
It’s tough for a team to win without scoring, if not impossible. So when the Blackhawks managed to hold Tampa Bay to zero goals for the entirety of Game 6, it was clear that Chicago was going to lift the trophy right then and there. Through two periods, Chicago held Tampa Bay to just 11 total shots, making things very easy on Blackhawks goalkeeper Corey Crawford, who kept a clean sheet in the final game of the 2014-2015 NHL season.
Crawford finished the game with 25 saves, and was tested minimally by a Lightning team that will have to settle for being remembered as merely the Eastern Conference champions. Only two Lightning players managed more than three shots on goal for the game, with Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman making the only real offensive impacts for the team on the night in the losing effort.
In addition to limiting Tampa Bay’s looks at goal, Chicago also kept themselves at full strength for the bulk of the game, serving just two penalty minutes for the entire game. It’s that kind of discipline that makes champions, and Chicago exhibited it in vast quantity in Game 6, proving why hockey tipsters liked them throughout the year.
Offense Wins Games
Of course, all of the defense in the world is meaningless unless a team scores when presented with the opportunity to do so, and Chicago did just that to secure the Stanley Cup. They won 42 of the game’s 62 faceoffs, putting them at a tremendous advantage in possession right at the beginning of each play.
The Blackhawks opened the scoring in the second period through Duncan Keith, who was assisted by Patrick Kane and Brad Richards to score what eventually became the game winning goal in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, and surely one of the biggest goals in Keith’s career.
They added an insurance goal late in the third period, as Patrick Kane scored with five and a half minutes to go to put the Lightning away once and for all. It was Kane’s eleventh goal of the 2015 NHL postseason, and was assisted by Brad Richards and Brandon Saad.
For Chicago, this is their tenth Stanley Cup championship, and the third in six years in what has been a very impressive run of success in a sport where it is very difficult to have sustained runs of success over long periods of time. With a track record like Chicago has had over the last six years, there’s no doubt that they’ll be considered among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup yet again.]]>