CHICAGO — For the third time in six years, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup — and this time the city didn't even have to wait for them to bring it home.
After winning the Cup on the road in 2010 and 2013, captain Jonathan Toews and Co. won it in United Center, the first Cup for that building and the first NHL title won by the Hawks in Chicago in 77 years.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised a "world class celebration for a world class team" parade and rally, which is now scheduled for Thursday, the city confirmed Tuesday morning. Hawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said he was afraid to ask the city when it would be before Monday's game, nervous he'd be the one to jinx it.
After a series of tight games in the Stanley Cup Final, the Hawks took the lead on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second period Monday night, added a late goal from Patrick Kane and held on for the title by a 2-0 score.
"Every time we do it, it gets better and better," Toews told NBC after the win. "This unites the whole city. It doesn't get any better than this."
A major Chicago sports team hadn't won a championship at home since the Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals.
Duncan Keith's goal with 2:47 left in the second period gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Kane doubled the advantage on a one-timer with 5:14 left in the third period. Corey Crawford was brilliant in net as he blanked the Lightning.
"This is unbelievable. These fans have supported us all along," Crawford told NHL Network. "It's a team effort, and everyone battled hard. Everyone put their heart out to come out with these victories."
Keith won the Conn Smythe trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
"It was a great game tonight. The boys battled," Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook told NBC.
Highlights of the Stanley Cup win, courtesy of WGN 720AM:
In a statement, Emanuel said: “On behalf of the City of Chicago, I am thrilled to congratulate hockey's new dynasty — the Chicago Blackhawks — on winning the Stanley Cup for the third time in six years. To do it in at home in front of the most dedicated fans in the world makes this title that much sweeter. I want to congratulate every member of the Blackhawks family, including Rocky Wirtz, Coach Joel Quenneville, and especially every player for their grit and determination to bring the cup back to Chicago. I want to also congratulate the Tampa Bay Lightning on a great season and a thrilling series. Be ready, Chicagoans, because in the coming days we will put on a world class celebration for a world class team."
As heavy rains pounded the city Monday afternoon and evening, fans packed bars hoping to see the Hawks make history.
After the win fans on Madison Street on the Near West Side were screaming and singing.
In Wrigleyville, barricades went up at Clark and Addison Street as of 9:45 p.m., shortly after the Hawks scored their second goal.
In River North, fans were ready to celebrate.
"If they win I can't wait to just roam around the streets, surrounded by loved ones, being part of the biggest rager ever," said Sasha Johnson at The Lodge bar.
In River North, Jim Jansen said Monday's celebration was subdued compared to the Bulls' post-title parties in the 90s.
"This is nothing," Jansen, 43, said. "I remember in the 90s when the Bulls won, it was total mayhem between State and Division. The whole block packed, people flipping over cars and stuff. Now, I don't know. I guess wrigleyville is the place for that kind of stuff now."
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