PHILADELPHIA - There was no red light, just Blackhawks flying over the boards in celebration.
Sticks and helmets were thrown, scattered all over the ice and still no signal for a goal.
After a brief review, there was no dispute — the Chicago Blackhawks were the Stanley Cup champions.
Patrick Kane sneaked the puck past Michael Leighton 4:06 into overtime and stunned Philadelphia to lift the Blackhawks to a 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 on Wednesday night for their first championship since 1961.
No one but the Blackhawks appeared to know what was going on for a few frozen moments. Kane and his linemates seemed the only players on the ice who knew the puck found the side of the net. The goal light never went on, but that didn’t stop most of the Blackhawks from storming the ice and mobbing each other in celebration.
Kane will go down as scoring one of the biggest goals in team history.
“I was just hoping to God it was just an actual goal,” said captain Jonathan Toews, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. “They came back hard in the third and we just stuck with it.”
Kane raised his arms right away and skated behind the net, knowing the goal was good. While the Flyers sat on the bench in stunned silence with confused looks, the Blackhawks began to celebrate in their own end around goaltender Antti Niemi.
Before reaching the group hug, Kane stooped to pick up some loose ice shavings — looking like a mischievous kid on Christmas ready to throw a snowball in the backyard.
“There’s so many great things about winning a Stanley Cup. This is it,” Toews said. “This is the best feeling you can ever get. I just can’t believe it’s happened.”
Toews was first to touch the Cup, taking it from commissioner Gary Bettman and hoisting it above his head in triumph. Marian Hossa, whose last two attempts at a title were denied the last two years with Detroit and Pittsburgh, was next. He lifted it and bench-pressed the big trophy, snapping his head back in exhilaration.
The Blackhawks completed their revival from the bottom of the NHL to holding the silver trophy on the strength of rising stars Kane and Toews. They won their first Stanley Cup since Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita led the way 49 years ago.
It ends the longest active championship drought in the NHL. Kane is the first player to score the Stanley Cup clinching goal in overtime since Jason Arnott did it for New Jersey at Dallas in 2000.
“I heard the sound, it was a funny sound,” coach Joel Quenneville said of the Cup-winner. “Nobody knew where the puck was. Kaner thought it was in.”
Leighton stopped 37 shots — just not the last one.
“I went to the corner and saw a guy drive the net,” he said. “I thought he was going to pass it but he threw it at my feet and it went underneath me.”
Fitting in a series where neither team had much wiggle room, this one needed OT.
With the offense revved into desperation mode, Hartnell was leveled by Toews right in front of the crease as he knocked a loose puck in to make it 3-3 with 3:59 left in the third.
He raised his arms while flat on his back.
Knocked down, never out.
The Flyers faithful turned their white towels into rally symbols only moments after they could have been used for surrender.
The fans politely applauded when the game was over, but the few thousand who stuck around booed as the Blackhawks took their turns hoisting the silver trophy. A few hundred Blackhawks fans went wild as the team took a picture with the Cup.
“It’s no consolation,” Hartnell said. “The storybook ending ended the wrong way for us. It hurts.”
The Blackhawks ruthlessly attacked the Flyers and it paid off with two should-have-been-stopped goals against Leighton.
Leighton, who had been flawless at home this postseason, couldn’t come up with two crucial saves and that helped put Chicago in the driver’s seat.
CSN: The Blackhawks' Stanley Cup hopes will soon be extinguished if they can't fix their struggling power play.
CSN: The Blackhawks have a plethora of dangerous attacking options -- all of whom have been shut down by the harrassing Bruins defense.
'Hawks celebrate on ice with the Cup
June 10, 2010: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presents captain Jonathan Toews with the Stanley Cup, and Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and others Chicago players skate around the ice with it.
Video: NHL from NBC Sports
Rask credits a team effort on defense
Without the need for an overtime period, the Bruins won Game 3 over the Blackhawks, 2-0. Bruins coach Claude Julien credits Tuukka Rask for his preparation and extreme focus, while Rask appreciates the guys in front of him covering their ice and blocking shots.
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