June 16, 2015 / 3:04 AM / 3 years ago

Blackhawks blank Lightning to claim Stanley Cup

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane gave Chicago all the offense they needed as the Blackhawks shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win their third Stanley Cup in six years.

Chicago Blackhawks players pose for a team photo. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Keith banged in his own rebound late in the second period, giving goalie Corey Crawford all he would need for the win, and spoiling a fabulous effort by Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop, who turned aside 30 Chicago shots.

A workhorse in a series where the scoring stars were largely held in check, Keith was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the playoffs.

Kane salted the win with just over 5 minutes left, taking a no-look pass from Brandon Saad to put Chicago up by a pair, and marking the first time in the razor-tight series that either team has held a two-goal lead.

“There were a few games that could have gone either way, and we found a way,” Keith said in an on-ice interview.

Following Cup victories in 2010 and 2013, the win puts this edition of the Blackhawks into the rarified air of past great teams, particularly coming in an era of a salary cap and frequent player movement.

“That’s three Cups in six seasons. I’d say you have a dynasty,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told a delirious Chicago crowd moments before presenting the Cup, which was delayed in arriving at the arena by weather and needed a police escort.

The celebration was made more special by it being the first since 1938 that the Blackhawks had clinched in Chicago.

Following a trend of past series, Chicago finished stronger than it started, going down two games to one against Tampa Bay before storming back with three straight wins.

For Tampa Bay, for whom the appearance in the final was their first since winning in 2004, the series was notable for the ascendancy of young star defenseman Victor Hedman, and the strong play of Bishop in coming back from a groin injury that sidelined him in Game Four.

Asked about injuries, Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper instead pointed to the Lightning’s difficulty scoring during the series, particularly after leading the league in goals during the regular season.

“We were only giving up two goals a game, and when this team only gives up two, we win the majority of those games,” he told reporters. “The pucks just didn’t go in for us.”

Chicago goalie Crawford, who despite team success rarely gets billing among the NHL’s top goalies, was steady throughout the series, and with the Game Six win tied Hall of Famer Tony Esposito for most playoff wins in franchise history with 45.

Writing by Cameron French; Editing by Frank Pingue

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