For some 40 minutes the Blackhawks and their delirious fans basked in the literal glow of their most recent Stanley Cup championship — rink-size images of memorable moments engulfing the ring and 21158 flickering wristbands lighting up the United Center as a montage of highlights and soundbites played on the big screen.
And as the fifth championship banner rose to the rafters — just one shy of their co-tenants now — cameras flashed and fans roared and players beamed from the ice below as the unforgettable 2013 season officially came to a close.
Now it’s over. And now it begins.
The Hawks opened their defense of the Stanley Cup — and more importantly with so many pieces still in place their pursuit of another — with a wild 6-4 victory over the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night overcoming a Mikhail Grabovski hat trick three power play goals and a frenetic 86 seconds of a Washington 5-on-3 in the waning minutes.