Blackhawks win Stanley Cup by two

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Blackhawks win Stanley Cup by two

CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks won their third NHL Stanley Cup in six years by beating Tampa Bay 2-0 on Monday, taking the series in six games.

Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith scored, and this time Chicago clinched the title at home - something it last did in 1938.

Keith, the Blackhawks’ iron man, directed a dominant defense that shut down Tampa Bay’s high-scoring attack and also gave Chicago a 1-0 lead when he knocked in his own rebound with 2:47 left in the second period.

Kane made it 2-0 in the third when he scored on a one-time shot in a three-on-two rush with 5:13 left in the game, his first goal of the series. It was the first time in the final that either team had a two-goal lead.

Goaltender Corey Crawford, who was pulled from the first-round playoff series against Nashville before re-establishing himself as a first-choice goalie, had 25 saves in his fifth career playoff shutout.

Keith was a unanimous selection for the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP after he finished with 21 points while playing over 700 minutes in a grueling postseason.

It was an appropriate conclusion to a series full of near misses and close calls that had fans in Chicago and Tampa Bay on the edge of their seats for almost two weeks. It was only the second final to begin with five one-goal games, and no team enjoyed a two-goal advantage until an open Kane buried a perfect pass from Brad Richards at 14:46 of the third.

It was Kane’s first goal of the series, and it touched off a wild celebration by the frenzied crowd of 22,424.

“I’d say you have a dynasty,’’ NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the cheering crowd as he presented the trophy to the grinning Blackhawks.

Ben Bishop kept the Lightning in the game with 30 saves. According to ESPN, he played through the game with a torn groin. The injury had kept him out of Game 4.

Led by Bishop and big defenseman Victor Hedman, the Lightning allowed just 13 goals in the series, but it was not enough against the unflappable Blackhawks.

Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos finished the playoffs with an eight-game scoring drought that will likely haunt him into the offseason. He rung the inside of the crossbar on a near miss at 7:50 of the first and was stoned by Crawford on a breakaway 58 seconds into the middle period.

The pair of missed opportunities for one of the NHL’s most gifted scorers was made costly when the Blackhawks got on the board in the second.

AP

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