Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup ChampionsInstead of forcing a Game 7 for all the marbles, the Boston Bruins squandered a 2-1 lead against the Chicago Blackhawks last night and allowed two late goals in the third period. The exciting last-minute win gave the Blackhawks the chance to raise the Stanley Cup in triumph for the second time in four years.

The Bruins did manage to get off to an aggressive start in the game, executing 12 shots on goal to just 6 for the Blackhawks in the first period. The Bruins were more physical and controlling than ever in the first frame, obviously conscious of a loss meaning their season would end. Slick passing and smart strategy helped the team keep the puck in the offensive zone through much of the period, giving the Blackhawks few chances to pressure Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask.

The first goal of the game found the back of the net with 12:41 left in the first. Daniel Paille shot the puck high in the air over to Tyler Seguin in front of the net, and Seguin gloved it down and passed it quickly to Chris Kelly on the other side of the net. Kelly scored with a sharp wrist shot Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford never had a chance to block.

The Bruins continued assaulting the net throughout the rest of the period, limiting the Blackhawks to long distance shots. Crawford couldn't even keep his helmet on straight and had to signal to the referee to stop play at one point so he could adjust himself.

The Bruins played through the bulk of the first like they were on a perpetual power play. A Johnny Oduya hooking penalty gave the Bruins their first of four actual power play opportunities with the second coming on a high sticking penalty by Michal Rozsival late in the opening period. The home team just couldn't capitalize on either of those first two penalties despite multiple close shots.

A frightening moment happened in the period when Andrew Shaw took a hit in the face from the puck that earned him a nasty cut that had to be stitched up between periods. Jaromir Jagr also took a hard hit in the period that bloodied his nose and left him rattled for the rest of the game.

The Bruins would get another couple of goal scoring chances with two more power plays in the second period that came up short. Instead, as time expired on the first power play (thanks to a roughing penalty by Andrew Shaw) Jonathan Toews scored on a slick breakaway opportunity. A Brent Seabrook tripping penalty put Boston on the offensive again, keeping the puck in front of the Blackhawks' net for almost the whole two minutes with no success.

Shaw battled through one tough scrum with no helmet, and his cut opened up, requiring him to keep a towel at the ready through the rest of the game. A Tyler Seguin penalty for hooking eventually led to an incredible Rask save on the first Blackhawks chance to score on the first of their two power play opportunities.

The third period saw Crawford and Rask making one amazing save after another, but Milan Lucic's score with 7:49 left in the game looked to be the game clincher. Lucic put the puck in the net off a short pass from behind the net from David Krejci. It took an extra attacker on the ice for the Blackhawks to tie the score with just under two minutes left in the game.

Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith assisted Bryan Bickell on the equalizer. Just 17 seconds later, the Blackhawks scored again off a Dave Bolland wrister with Oduya and Marcus Kruger assisting. The remaining 58 seconds and change was just not enough time for the Bruins to pull off another miracle like their Game 7 magic against Toronto earlier in the playoffs.

The Bolland score was the final nail in the coffin for the Bruins, giving the Blackhawks a 4-2 series victory they were happy to celebrate even with boos raining down on them from the Boston crowd.

Patrick Kane won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs in addition to helping his team hoist the cup after Game 6.

"It was the best year of my life," Kane said. "Just playing with these guys."

Kane's hat trick in the final game against the LA Kings helped get his team into position to face the Bruins, and he continued to be a contributor throughout the finals, so his nomination for the award made sense.

The difference between the winning and losing teams in this series could be chalked up to puck control and shots on goal. The Blackhawks outshot the Bruins throughout most of the series, and for the Bruins to register their two wins it was simply a matter of scoring on the better quality chances.

The epic Game 1 win for the Blackhawks also put the Bruins on their heels, and the whole series might have gone the other way if Boston managed to win the opener.

The Bruins still looked strong in their bid for the cup, and next year they will be sure to be back in the mix with a fighting chance to hoist their own second Stanley Cup in a span of four years.


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