BOSTON — The journey began with Jonathan Toews organizing informal workouts while the NHL lockout raged on and ended with the Blackhawks captain holding the Stanley Cup aloft.
The Hawks' magical 2013 season concluded with seemingly the only result Toews and Co. would allow — the franchise's fifth title and second in the last four years — after a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Monday night at TD Garden.
As with the 2010 champs, the end came in stunning fashion in Game 6 on enemy ice. Trailing by a goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in the third period, the Hawks got goals by Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland 17 seconds apart to stun the Bruins and the crowd of 17,565.
"This is an unbelievable group," Toews said in an interview on the ice after the game. "We've been through a lot together this year, and this is a sweet way to finish it off."
Corey Crawford made 23 saves to record the victory — and exorcise some demons after allowing goals in consecutive overtimes in a first-round departure at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes last year — and Toews had a goal and an assist.
"I don't really remember the past 20-25 minutes," said Patrick Kane, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player. "My head is kind of spinning right now. It's all worth it. All the hard work pays off in the end. These are the feelings you live for. It's going to be a great summer enjoying this. This year we had a great team and we really followed through."
Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic scored for Boston, with Lucic's third-period goal with 7:49 to go threatening to send the series back to Chicago for Game 7.
But Tuukka Rask couldn't hold off the Blackhawks, allowing Bickell's goal with 1:16 to play and Bolland's goal with 59 seconds left, off a rebound of Johnny Oduya's shot.
"It was like fate," Chicago wing Marian Hossa said. "We were down with a couple of minutes left in the game and all of a sudden bang, we won the Stanley Cup.
"How can you call that?" Toews said. "We knew we needed just one bounce there, and obviously that was a big goal for them to go up 2-1. You never know what can happen, so you never stop playing until the end."
Both teams were bolstered by the return of top players from injuries suffered during the second period of Game 5. Toews, who remained on the bench in the third period Saturday after absorbing several big hits, and the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron (undisclosed injury) were both in the lineup.
The Bruins dominated the first period, controlling the pace and flow. Crawford bailed out the Blackhawks with several key saves, including a big stop on Kelly from in close as the forward tried to poke in a loose puck.
Kelly did score 7:19 into the period when he received a terrific cross-ice pass from Tyler Seguin and deposited the puck into the open net before Crawford could scramble back into position.
Crawford and the Blackhawks hung on for the rest of the period despite being outshot, 12-6.
And then Toews' unassisted goal at 4:24 of the second got them even.
Just after a roughing penalty on Shaw expired, Toews stripped Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara of the puck, raced into the Boston zone and unleashed a wicked wrist shot that got past Rask through the five-hole.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times