Blackhawks sweep, to play in Cup finals
By RICK GANO
CHICAGO — The Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup finals, thanks to another big goal by Big Buff.
Dustin Byfuglien scored his third go-ahead goal of the Western Conference finals, converting on a third-period power play as Chicago rallied to beat the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, and completed a four-game sweep yesterday that sent the Blackhawks to the finals for the first time since 1992.
Chicago will play either Montreal or Philadelphia and be in search of its first NHL title since 1961.
"It's an honor to be going to the Stanley Cup. We beat a very good team over there. It wasn't easy," Byfuglien said.
The 257-pound Byfuglien was parked in front of the net with 7 seconds left on the power play. He took a nice pass from Patrick Kane and knocked the puck past goalie Evgeni Nabokov to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead at 14:05 of the final period.
"I got my stick open in front of the net and Kaner game me a nice little feed," Byfuglien said.
Kris Versteeg added an empty-net goal with 42 seconds left, and the fans at the United Center erupted, littering the ice with souvenir towels.
"There's a level of frustration about the way we approached this whole series," San Jose defenseman Rob Blake said. "We put ourselves in a position to be successful throughout the season and we didn't accomplish what we needed to."
Byfuglien also had the winner Friday in overtime as Chicago captured Game 3, 3-2. He also put the Blackhawks ahead with a goal in their 2-1 win in the opener.
SAN JOSE 1 1 0—2
CHICAGO 0 2 2—4
First Period—1, San Jose, Couture 4 (Setoguchi, Murray), 11:08. Second Period—2, San Jose, Marleau 8 (Vlasic, Pavelski), 7:35 (sh). 3, Chicago, Seabrook 3 (Hjalmarsson, Versteeg), 13:15. 4, Chicago, Bolland 5 (Eager, Keith), 18:38. Third Period—5, Chicago, Byfuglien 8 (Kane, Toews), 14:05 (pp). 6, Chicago, Versteeg 4, 19:18 (en).
Shots on Goal—San Jose 7-8-3—18. Chicago 8-10-9—27. Goalies—San Jose, Nabokov. Chicago, Niemi. A—22,224 (19,717). T—2:28
Chicago 4, San Jose 2
Chicago wins series 4-0
Today, Hawai'i time
Montreal at Phila., 1 p.m.
Phila. leads series 3-1
Wednesday: at Montreal, 1 p.m., if necessary
Friday: at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., if necessary