BOSTON — The journey began with Jonathan Toews organizing informal workouts while the NHL lockout raged on and ended with the Blackhawks captain holding the Stanley Cup aloft.
The Hawks’ magical 2013 season concluded with seemingly the only result Toews and Co. would allow — the franchise’s fifth title and second in the last four years after a 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Monday night at TD Garden.
As with the 2010 championship, the end came in stunning fashion in Game 6 on enemy ice. Trailing by a goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in the third period, the Hawks got scores from Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland 17 seconds apart to stun the Bruins and the crowd of 17,565.
“It was like a fairy tale,” winger Marian Hossa said. “We were down with a couple of minutes left in the game and all of a sudden, bang, we won the Stanley Cup. We didn’t quit. We knew we had to put the puck at the net, but nobody would think in 17 seconds we would score two goals.”
Corey Crawford made 23 saves to record the victory — and exorcise some demons after allowing goals in consecutive overtimes in a first-round postseason departure at the hands of the Coyotes last year — and Toews had a goal and an assist for the Hawks.
“Everyone was behind each other,” Crawford said. “We worked hard for each other all year, and I’m so proud of everyone in that room.”
Chris Kelly and Milan Lucic scored for the Bruins, with Lucic’s goal with 7:49 to go threatening to send the series back to Chicago for a Game 7. But Tuukka Rask couldn’t hold off a furious attack and allowed Bolland’s goal at 19:01 of the third off a rebound of a Johnny Oduya shot.
“The puck went back to the ‘D,’ and (Oduya) shot it,” Bolland said. “All I knew was it was sitting in front of me, so I had to tap it in. As a team we just never give up. We’d battled back from bigger deficits than this. As a team, we did it all.”
Patrick Kane, who had nine goals and 10 assists in 23 games, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the postseason.
“All the hard work pays off in the end,” Kane said. “These are the feelings you live for. It’s going to be a great summer enjoying this. This year we had a great team and we really followed through. Being down 2-1 (on Monday night) in the last couple of minutes, coming back and winning in regulation, it’s just unbelievable, this team.”
Added President John McDonough: “It was a grueling two months. These guys played their absolute best when their backs were against the wall. We’re going to savor (Monday). I think lightning just struck.”
Toews played after sitting out the third period of Game 5 following a series of big hits and in the end took the Cup from Commissioner Gary Bettman and started the process of each player taking a spin on the ice before handing it to veteran center Michal Handzus.
“This group is unbelievable,” Toews said. “This time around, we realized a little bit more how tough it is to get here. We didn’t want to waste this opportunity. It’s a special group. Those guys worked like dogs. We had great players sitting out every day that didn’t get to play — those guys sacrificed. Everyone paid the price. It feels pretty special when you give so much to something.”
The Hawks began the season with a 24-game run without a regulation loss, reeled off a franchise-record 11 wins in a row and captured the Presidents’ Trophy as the team with the best record in the league. Four postseason series triumphs later, they are again the champs.
“We were almost charmed the way we started the season and the way we ended,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Nobody saw that one coming either way. A lot of great things in between, some great challenges in this playoff series … let alone the other three.
“The resiliency of our team was in place all year long. The depth of our four lines made it such a great season and a fun team to coach as well. And the back end, the contribution and the goaltending combo we had with Corey running with it here in the playoffs. It was one of those seasons, a fairy-tale ending and an amazing season.”