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America’s newest dynasty: ‘Hawks 2015 Stanley Cup champions

The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on Monday night and solidified their place in American sports history.

Chicago+Blackhawks+center+Jonathan+Toews+%2819%29+hoists+the+Stanley+Cup+on+Monday%2C+June+15%2C+2015%2C+at+the+United+Center+in+Chicago.+
Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) hoists the Stanley Cup on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the United Center in Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) hoists the Stanley Cup on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the United Center in Chicago.

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) hoists the Stanley Cup on Monday, June 15, 2015, at the United Center in Chicago.

Josh Barajas, Sports Editor

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When the clock hit zero at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois on Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks clinched their third Stanley Cup in six years and cemented their right to be called a dynasty.

After falling behind 2-1 in the series, the Hawks won three games in a row to close out the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 2-0 game six victory. This marks Chicago’s third Stanley Cup win finishing in six games; the Hawks also closed out Philadelphia in 2010 after going down 2-1 and they beat Boston in 2013 after being tied 2-2 in the series.

The Blackhawks now join the Bulls of the ’90s and the Bears of the ’80s in Chicago’s pantheon of sports dynasties. Of course, the Hawks’ run hasn’t been as impressive as the Bulls’ six championships in eight years from 1990-98. Yet, it has been more decorated than the Bears’ six division crowns and lone Super Bowl win from 1984-90.

One thing is for sure: center and team captain, Jonathan Toews and right wing Patrick Kane will join Michael Jordan, Walter Payton and Ernie Banks as part of Chicago sports royalty.

Kane led Chicago in goals scored (11) and points (23) in the 2015 postseason, while Toews was right behind him with 10 goals and 21 total points. In 2010, Toews and Kane were first and second in the postseason with 29 and 28 points, respectively. In 2013, Kane led with 19 points and Toews ranked fifth on the team with 14, but led the team with 11 assists.

Goalie Corey Crawford, who probably deserves the same amount of praise as Toews and Kane, missed out on the 2010 Stanley Cup because the more experienced Antti Niemi and Cristobal Huet were ahead on the depth chart.

However, Crawford earned the starting spot in the net the following season and posted an impressive 1.84 goals against average in the 2013 playoffs with a 16-7 record. This postseason, he had a more modest, but still impressive, 2.31 GAA and a 13-7 record. He also had a .932 and .924 save percentage in both Stanley Cup runs.

Chicago also has its place in the entire history of the NHL secured. Even though the Hawks have never won back-to-back titles, they join the Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders on the list of hockey teams that have accomplished three or more championships within a six-year window.

Also, in the years that Chicago didn’t make it to the finals, they’ve managed to make noise in the playoffs; almost always entering as favorites to win the cup. They’ve made it to the conference finals in five of the last seven years, losing twice to the Red Wings in 2009 and the Los Angeles Kings in 2014.

When it comes to sports dynasties, there always comes a decline. For the Bulls it came when Michael Jordan retired. However, the pillars on this Blackhawks team, Toews and Kane, are only 27 and 26 years old and in their primes.

If the Stanley Cup returned to Chicago a couple more times in the next few years, it wouldn’t be a surprise; it’s almost expected. This dynasty will continue as long as Toews and Kane are there scoring goals and Crawford is keeping them out of the Blackhawk net.

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