PHILADELPHIA - There was no red light, just Blackhawks flying over the boards in celebration.
Sticks and helmets were thrown 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 shot the puck past Michael Leighton 4 minutes, 10 seconds 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.
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No one but the Blackhawks appeared to know what was going on for a few frozen moments. Kane and his linemates seemed to be 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.
“I knew it went in right away,” Kane said. “What a feeling. I can’t believe it. We just won the Stanley Cup. I can’t believe this just happened. … It’s something you dream about, scoring the final goal in the Stanley Cup finals.”
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 prior two years with Detroit and Pittsburgh, was next. He lifted it and bench-pressed the big trophy, snapping his head back in exhilaration.
Fitting in a series where neither team had much wiggle room, this one needed OT.
Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell provided the tying goal, getting leveled by Toews right in front of the crease as he knocked a loose puck in to make it 3-3 with 3:59 remaining in the third.
But Leighton, who had been flawless at home this postseason and stopped 37 shots Wednesday, couldn’t stop the last one.