To celebrate 25 years of Blackhawks hockey at the United Center, Blackhawks.com looks back on the top 25 moments with '25 in 25'
They might not have known it at the time, but the 2008-09 Blackhawks were a precursor to a group that was on the verge of one of the greatest runs in the history of Chicago sports.
After finishing the '08-09 regular season with a 46-24-12 record - second to the Red Wings in the Central Division - the Blackhawks rode the offense of Martin Havlat, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, the defense of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell and the goaltending tandem of Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet into the postseason.
After dispatching the Flames in six games in the Western Conference quarterfinals, the Blackhawks faced off against the Canucks in Round 2.
In what would quickly become one of the fiercest rivalries in hockey, the Blackhawks and Canucks battled into Game 6 of the Conference Semifinals where Kane would continue to stake his claim as one of the NHL's most clutch players.
Game 6 was already off-the-rails by the time Daniel Sedin scored on the power play to give the Canucks a 5-4 lead with 7:45 remaining in the third period. That was when Kane, who had scored the Blackhawks' first goal midway through the opening period, took over.
Forty-five seconds after Sedin scored, Kane picked up a loose puck and beat Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo with a wraparound to tie it. After Toews scored to give the Blackhawks a 6-5 lead less than a minute later, Kane sealed the deal with his first-career three-goal game that had the crowd of 22,867 going wild and sending hats sailing onto the United Center ice to celebrate the winger's hat trick.
"I got the puck in the neutral zone and just kind of made a move inside-out on Shane O'Brien and backhanded a shot on Luongo," Kane said. "I had chills running down my spine and skating down the ice and went right into Brian Campbell's arms. I thought that was pretty cool."
Though they went on to lose to the Red Wings in the conference finals, that series - and in particular Game 6 - proved that the Blackhawks were going to be a team to be reckoned with in the coming seasons.
"Just a crazy game; it was so back-and-forth," Kane said. "We were kind of getting the taste of playoff hockey and that was a big clinching game, Game 6 at home, to send us to the Conference Finals so it was very cool."