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2010 Stanley Cup Finals: In the end, Patrick Kane was the difference

Jun 10, 2010, 12:06 AM EDT

Kane5.jpgPatrick Kane had just one game-winning goal in the entire postseason
for the Chicago Blackhawks, but that’s all they ever really needed from
him anyway. Jonathan Toews may have won the Conn Smythe trophy as the
Most Valuable Player of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, but in the end it
was Patrick Kane that was the difference maker as he pushed his team
the incredibly resilient Philadelphia Flyers.

Kane, like the rest of this top line of himself, Toews and Dustin
Byfuglien, had struggled mightily against the speedy and physicial
Flyers in the first four games of the series. He had just three points
in those first four games, and was a minus-6 overall. He was practically
invisible at times and rarely was the scoring threat that this team
desperately needed him to be in order to finally hoist the Cup.

After a disastrous Game 4 performance, Kane turned a corner.

He had five points between Game 5 and 6 and along with Byfuglien was
the catalyst for what the Hawks needed to get their skates back under
them. The series against the Flyers had gone off the rails in Philly,
and here they were headed back to the City of — supposed — Brotherly
Love with a chance to clinch the Cup finals once and for all.

Kane had just two secondary assists before the overtime period
started, but his presence had been felt all game long. It was the same
determination you saw in him after the debacle in Game 4 and it showed
once more in the biggest game of his incredibly young career; there
should have been no doubting that Kane would factor into the winning
goal for the Blackhawks.

For Kane, who at age 21 is just now starting an already incredible
career, it was perhaps the highest moment he’ll ever reach during his
time in the NHL. Skating with the puck in the offensive zone, he was
pushed wide by the Flyers before whipping a hard wrist shot on net.
Somehow, the puck found its way through Michael Leighton before lodging
in the far side of the twine. Kane instantly screamed in joy as the
arena went nearly silent.

No goal lights went off.

No referee signaled a good goal. In fact, there was no signal made.

Kane6.jpgJust the sight of a young kid with the world’s greatest mullet
skating as hard as he could to the other end of the ice, gloves, sticks
and other pieces of equipment falling to the ice in his wake. No one
knew what had happened, but Patrick Kane knew right away: he had just
scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

Of course, while talking about the goal, Kane was quick to ramble
onto another subject.

“I knew it right away,” Kane said, a smile on his face as emotion
started to wash over him. “It was stuck behind the meshing there. Got a
shot out to my people back in Buffalo. My hometown. I have four
buddies who drove all the way to come out here. My five family members.
Three sisters, three beautiful sisters. My mom and dad. What a
feeling. I can’t believe it.

“It’s unbelievable. We just won the Stanley Cup.”

Kane was emotional after the game, as many players are when the
reality of their accomplishments start to sink in. Kane is just 21 and
has plenty of hockey ahead of him, but after a long and grueling season
with all of the uncertainty and all of the pressure that was heaped upon
the Hawks, it’s a relief to realize you’ve just accomplished the
ultimate goal.

“I can’t believe this just happened,” Kane said as tears started to
show in his eyes. “It’s something you dream of as a kid. To score the
winning goal in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was just — it was
unbelievable.”

There’s no doubting how important and how deserving Toews is for the
Hawks, the quiet and serious captain who held this team together all
season long. Yet it was Kane, the flashy one of the two, who was
ultimately the difference maker in this series. It’s not how you start a
series or a game, it’s how you finish it that matters. When the
Blackhawks were locked in a must-win game, fighting to not have to head
to a dangerous Game 7 and with the Flyers seizing momentum, he did
exactly what all good hockey players know to do.

He threw the puck
at the net and made something good happen.

  1. Rick - Jun 10, 2010 at 2:39 AM

    Kane may play Matador defense, but he is worth the price of admission to watch with the puck. Still, perhaps the worst playoff beard ever! lol

  2. Steve - Jun 10, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    What this article does not say is that Leighton let up 2 soft goals with the 1st being the game tying goal and the 2nd being the game winning goal. Toews is a good young player but the real MVP for that team is Niemi. Hands down, if the Flyers have Niemi, the cup goes to Philly. The guy was amazing in this series and throughout the playoffs. Hats off to the ‘Hawks for a great season. This was a great series for hockey, but as a Flyers fan… not so much. Better goaltending was the difference in this series not goal scoring.

  3. Jim - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    From a Blackhawks fan to a Flyers fan, your comment is spot on about Niemi.
    This Finals series was definitely played by the two best teams in the league.

  4. H25 - Jun 10, 2010 at 9:29 AM

    I’m the ultimate sucker (Bruins fan)but just the way both teams played – up and down, physical it was still a great old fashioned series to watch from an unbiased spectator. All we needed was Dave Schultz beating up Keith Magnuson (well everyone beat up Magnuson). But goaltending was the difference.

  5. Deb - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    Wow – great series. I am a die hard Flyers fan but truly beleive that the Blackhawks earned this one! Leighton did great – but Niemi was amazing! Kudos to all of the good sportsmanship comments! It is nice to see “Philly” fans doing the right thing and giving credit where credit is deserved! We get a bad wrap because of random morons very often and it is awesome to see the good in people! Hey – maybe next year for our Flyers!!!

  6. Bud - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    From another Flyers fan congrats to the Hawks, you are a class organization. The stop by Niemi on Carter with a little over a minute to go is the cup winner. Paul Holmgren, two words for you to take into the off season GOAL-TENDING!!!!!

  7. SamC - Jun 13, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    What an amazing series! Excluding when the Hawks were up 2-0, this series was a nail biter. I’m so happy to finally see a championship team back in Chicago.
    Both of these teams are a force to be reckoned with. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of these teams in the playoffs again next year competing for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
    Flyer fans, I really can’t say anything about the Flyers other than their goal tending issues. This is a team you can be proud of what they’ve done, even if they didn’t win it all. It goes to show you that just about anything can happen in the playoffs.

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