NHL.com is looking ahead to the Stanley Cup Playoffs by having former players discuss their favorite postseason game. Today, Bryan Bickell recalls the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-clinching rally against the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 24, 2013.
Bryan Bickell broke out of his slump at the right time, scoring the tying goal late in the third period, and Dave Bolland scored the winner 17 seconds later to help the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup with a 3-2 victory in Game 6 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
"Thank God I saved [the goal] for that game," Bickell said. "That was the biggest goal of my career, really."
The forward had 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 23 games in the 2013 playoffs, but had not scored a goal in the first five games of the Final. He was playing hurt, having sustained a torn medial cruciate ligament in his right knee against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.
"I had to go into [forward Marian] Hossa's stall and grab a knee brace and use it for the rest of the game," said Bickell, who wore the brace all six games against the Bruins. "You're obviously not 100 percent. You do what it takes to get on the ice, but it's obviously tough. Injuries are part of the game, especially in the playoffs because you're doing crazy things to your body that you don't usually do, and you want to be there for your team. You want to be on the ice."
Bickell had 136 points (66 goals, 70 assists) in 395 games in 10 NHL seasons, nine with the Blackhawks, who he also won the Cup with in 2010 and 2015, and one with the Carolina Hurricanes. He retired in April 2017 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2016.
Video: 2013 Cup Final, Gm6: Late goals propel Hawks to Cup
In Game 6 against Boston, Bickell was on the ice when Bruins forward Milan Lucic scored on a wrist shot to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead with 7:49 remaining in the third period.
"I was supposed to be covering him," Bickell said. "But it wasn't a big panic [for the Blackhawks]. We were up [3-2] in the series, so we were comfortable, not about losing, but if we had to go back home and do our thing [we would]. But you want to do whatever it takes during that game to get tied up."
Bickell did that.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford left the ice for an extra attacker with 1:25 remaining and forward Patrick Kane skated through the neutral zone and took a shot on Boston goalie Tuukka Rask.
"I always say he threw a muffin on net, just a little shot on net," Bickell said.
Kane and forward Jonathan Toews fought for the loose puck in the corner. Defenseman Duncan Keith got it and passed to Toews, whose pass went through the legs of Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara to the front of the net.
"I remember I was coming down the ice. Then I took, not a big circle, but a circle where, looking back, I don't know what I was doing," Bickell said. "But then I got back to my position, and I saw Michal Handzus was on the ice [as the extra attacker] and I thought, 'OK, there's only one thing I need to do is go to the net.' That's when the play happened, with Toews finding me and I just hit it as hard as I could. I was happy to see it go through the five-hole."
The Blackhawks had barely finished celebrating Bickell's game-tying goal when they took a 3-2 lead 17 seconds later. Bolland scored on a rebound after forward Michael Frolik's tip of defenseman Johnny Oduya's shot hit the post.
The insane end to Game 6 typified a wild season for the Blackhawks, who played the first 24 games without a regulation loss (21-0-3).
"It's crazy how the season went, how good it went, and then coming down to the last moments of the year and winning a Cup, and doing it like that, it was crazy," Bickell said. "You would've thought, there's no way. To cap that whole season off the way we did, it was obviously something I'm always going to remember because I was a part of it and it's just a cool, cool moment in Chicago sports history."