The Chicago Blackhawks are the 2013 Stanley Cup champions after taking out game six 3-2 in Boston with a stunning late rally.

Trailing 1-2 with less than two minutes to play, the Blackhawks risked an empty net by replacing goalie Corey Crawford with an extra attacker. The ploy worked -with 1.16 remaining, left-winger Bryan Bickell crammed the puck past Bruins net-minder Tuukka Rask.

Then, with 59 seconds left, Dave Bolland found an opening after a shot from the point, and the Blackhawks had the lead for the first time in the match. They held on for the rest of the final minute to win their second title in four years.

Prior to that, the famous old club had not won since 1961. Now the young, offensively gifted Hawks could forge a dynasty – captain Jonathan Toews told NBC shortly after the end of the game that his team had “not really known what they were doing” when they took out the Cup in 2010. They know now, and they have the self-belief, depth and firepower to become a major stumbling block for rivals for years to come.

The first game of the series went to triple overtime in the fifth-longest playoff game in history, and Chicago’s game six winner was the latest-ever scored to decide a Stanley Cup winner.

The epic series appeared heading for a deciding game seven in Chicago when Milan Lucic put a wrist shot past Crawford to set up a 2-1 lead for the hosts 12 minutes into the final period. Boston had led 1-0 for a long span of the game mid-match, after a Chris Kelly snap shot beat Crawford seven minutes into the first period.

Superstar Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews defied injury to make a big contribution, with an unassisted goal four minutes from the end of the second period levelling the game at 1-1, and the assist on the goal which levelled the game at 2-2 late in the final period.

Dynamic forward Patrick Kane, at one stage becalmed by a scoring drought, fought back hard to become the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs. “This has been the best year of my life playing with these guys,” he told NBC.

In a series where goals were precious, Bickell’s efforts were also laudable – he scored only nine goals in the regular season, but matched that output nine goals in the playoffs.

Goalie Crawford was suitably amazed by the action at the other end of the ice.

“I still can’t believe that finish. We never lost confidence, nobody in our room ever did. We just kept telling ourselves to play our game… it was the same all year. It’s so much hard work to get to this point…”

The Blackhawks went 24 games without defeat at the start of the season, which was shortened by a contract wrangle between players and owners. But in the playoffs, they struggled to shake off Detroit, and looked in trouble when shut-out by Boston in game three, to fall behind two games to one.

They turned their fortunes around by defeating Boston away from home in game four, when the defensive shackles finally came off, and they prevailed 6-5 in overtime.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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