Patrick Kane scored in overtime to end the Chicago Blackhawks’ 49-year wait for a fourth National Hockey League Stanley Cup title.
Kane fired the puck between the legs of Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michael Leighton and into a corner of the goal four minutes, six seconds into overtime at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia last night. The Blackhawks celebrated while the play was reviewed because the goal light failed to go on.
“I was just hoping to God that it was an actual goal,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs. “To celebrate for nothing would take a lot of heart out of you.”
Byfuglien opened the scoring after 16:49 on a power play and Scott Hartnell tied it with 27 seconds remaining in the first period, also on a power play.
Danny Briere put the home team ahead 8 minutes into the second period before Sharp and Ladd scored to restore the Blackhawks’ lead.
The Flyers trailed until Hartnell got his second goal with four minutes remaining.
“That was a disappointing moment,” said Chicago right wing Marian Hossa. “We couldn’t just put our heads down; we had to work.”
After squirting the puck under Leighton for the winning goal in overtime, Kane skated behind the net with his hands raised as the Flyers’ players looked around in confusion because the goal light didn’t register the score. The Blackhawks gathered to celebrate in their own end as the officials reviewed the score.
“I knew it went in right away,” Kane said. “It’s something you dream about, scoring the final goal in the Stanley Cup finals.”
Antti Niemi made 21 saves for the Blackhawks, while Leighton had 37 for Philadelphia.
The Blackhawks have lost in the Stanley Cup final four times since 1961, including a 4-0 sweep to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their last appearance after the 1991-92 season. They also won the NHL championship in 1938 and 1934.
Chicago won the first two games of the series at home before Philadelphia rallied to tie the series. The Blackhawks set up the opportunity to win the title last night with a 7-4 victory four days ago.
“Losing Game 3 here in overtime got our attention,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “The last two games were the best two of the series.”
The Flyers were seeking their first NHL title since the “Broad Street Bullies” won the team’s only two championships, in 1974 and 1975. They’ve now lost their past six Stanley Cup final appearances.