Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Keith, Chicago Win Third Stanley Cup in Six Seasons

In the end, it was Michigan State beating Maine on the biggest goal of the Stanley Cup Final to close out the 2014-15 hockey season.

Former MSU defenseman Duncan Keith put home his own rebound against former Black Bear goaltender Ben Bishop with 2:47 remaining in the second period for the game-winning score as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-0, in Game 6 on Monday night. The Blackhawks won their third Cup in six seasons, and first at home since 1938.

Patrick Kane closed out the scoring late in the final frame, and Corey Crawford notched the shutout on 25 saves as Chicago again took the Cup in six games. The Hawks did so in 2010 against the Philadelphia Flyers, and then again two years ago versus the Boston Bruins.

Keith was the unanimous selection for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's playoff MVP, tallying three goals and 18 assists for 21 points in 23 games, while skating more than 700 minutes in the postseason, according to the Associated Press, including over 30 minutes last night. The Winnipeg native skated at MSU from 2001 to 2002, notching 24 points in 56 games for the Spartans, and has also won Olympic gold medals with Canada in 2010 and 2014. 

Keith tied Chris Chelios for the most points by a Blackhawks defenseman in a single postseason. He is also the first defenseman to claim the Conn Smythe since Hall of Fame blueliner Scott Niedermayer did so with Anaheim in 2007, according to NHL.com.

Bishop, who backstopped the Black Bears from 2005 to 2008 and fashioned a 55-35-7 record in NCAA competition, made 30 saves on Monday night at the United Center as the Lightning tried to force a Game 7. He went 1-3-0 in the final, having been lifted in Tampa Bay's Game 2 win for what was finally revealed last night as a groin tear.

The Hawks will celebrate their latest Cup victory with a parade on Thursday, led by captain Jonathan Toews (North Dakota). Other former NCAA players hoisting the Cup with Chicago this spring include Scott Darling (Maine), Patrick Sharp (Vermont) and Trevor van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire).

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