Chicago through to Cup final

10:21, May 25, 2010      

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The Chicago Blackhawks stormed into the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 18 years by completing a 4-0 clean sweep of the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

The Blackhawks finished off a surprisingly one-sided Western Conference final series by clawing their way back from 2-0 down to win 4-2 against the Sharks, who finished the regular season with the best record in the conference but ran out of puff in the playoffs.

The Blackhawks will now play the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens. The Flyers lead 3-1 with a home game on Monday.

"It doesn't get any better," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "This is what we play for and dream of since we're kids. It's going to be a hell of a time and we're going to have a lot of fun."

The Blackhawks, one of the original six NHL teams, have long been regarded as underachievers but are suddenly on the verge of ending a drought that has spanned almost half a century.

They won the last of their three Stanley Cup titles in 1961 and this year marks their first appearance in the final since 1992 while the Sharks were left rueing another missed chance to win their first conference title.

"They (Chicago) certainly deserved the series," San Jose coach Todd McLellan said.

"I thought we played hard with them. We competed with them. You know, we battled. We were in every minute of every game but we were the second-place team."

The Sharks had looked poised to force the series at least into a fifth game when they opened up a deserved 2-0 lead inside the second period only for Chicago to fight back with four unanswered goals.

Source:China Daily


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