Lord Stanley's Cup was in the house for Game 6, and the Chicago Blackhawks, looking to sip from it for the first time in 49 years, weren't willing to wait two more days.
They showed their impatience with a terrific display of forechecking that kept goalie Michael Leighton under heavy pressure most of the way. That hustle also helped deny the Flyers any true offensive rhythm and went a long way toward a 4-3 overtime victory that gave the Blackhawks their first championship since 1961.
Chicago outshot the Flyers by 17-3 in the opening 19 minutes. Through two periods, the Western Conference champions, displaying more poise and confidence than they had in Games 3 and 4 at the Wachovia Center, held a commanding 27-13 advantage in shots on goal. They were in front, 41-24, at the finish.
"I think we did a great job all night of playing in their end and controlling the corners," winger Andrew Ladd said. "That's what we do as a hockey team. Tonight, we were particularly good at it."
Patrick Kane was the hero, scoring the Stanley Cup-winner at 4 minutes, 10 seconds of overtime. He also assisted on two of Chicago's other three goals.
"I can't believe this just happened," Kane said. "It's something you dream of as a kid. To score the winning goal in the Stanley Cup Finals, it's just unbelievable. It's pretty surreal right now, for sure."
Ladd, scratched for the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals because of an upper-body injury, provided a go-ahead goal late in the second period, deflecting a Niklas Hjalmarsson slapshot past Leighton to make it 3-2.
For Ladd, who was draped on the play by Braydon Coburn but somehow managed to get his blade on the puck, it was only his third goal of the playoffs.
"It was tough sitting out the first three," Ladd said. "When that happens, you're anxious to get back and contribute."
Kane's assists came on Ladd's score and on fellow winger Dustin "Big Buff" Byfuglien's first-period tally. Kane finished the playoffs with 10 goals and 18 assists, but center Jonathan Toews (29 playoff points, but zero goals and just three assists in the Finals) was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the most valuable player during the playoffs.
"He wants to be the best he can be every time he hits the ice," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of Toews.
Said Kane: "One thing that remains the same is that we both love the game and love to compete. I think he'll go down one day as one of the greatest players of all time."