"I shot it between (Michael Leighton's) leg and the post," said Kane, 15 minutes after his sneaky goal past Leighton at 4:06 of overtime gave the Chicago Blackhawks their first Stanley Cup championship in 49 years. "I knew it went in. I may have been the only one. When it went in, I just booked it to the other end and tried to sell the celebration. It took a while, but eventually the rest of my teammates joined in."
While Kane was convinced the goal was good for the 4-3 victory, NHL officials checked the video replay. In a surreal 45 seconds that must have seemed like hours to some Blackhawks and most of their fanbase, the league confirmed the goal.
"That was a wild couple of seconds," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. "You never get a good angle from behind the bench, but Patty sure seemed certain and so did some of our other guys. But to be honest with you, it wasn't until the refs came over and told us it was a goal that I felt like I could celebrate with my team for real."
In so many ways, it was a fitting climax for the young, champion Blackhawks. Captain Jonathan Toews won the Conn Smythe Trophy for playoff MVP, while Kane scored the goal heard 'round Illinois.
"It doesn't matter how it happened, it doesn't matter how it went in," said Toews. "We're all pretty proud of Kane for scoring the big goal."
As young as he is, the 21-year-old Kane has one large dose of perspective to carry with him. As he noted himself after the game, his year started with an altercation with a taxi driver in Buffalo that led to an arrest and embarrassing headlines.
"My season didn't start off well in August, everyone knows that," said Kane. "But as a young kid you can learn from those things. There were a lot of ups and downs this year. There was the Olympics. Now to end it all with a Stanley Cup, it's just the greatest feeling. It's amazing how things can go from so bad to so good in a matter of months."