2013 Stanley Cup Final: 5 Reasons Chicago vs. Boston Will Be Classic Series
If your mouth isn't watering over this final pairing, you aren't a hockey fan.
Fans in Chicago and Boston need little reason to set their schedules to their team's exploits over the next two weeks, but even if you aren't a fan of either team, there is still plenty of incentive to tune in to this clash.
Here are five reasons that this year's Stanley Cup Final could be one to remember for a long time.
1. This Is the Original Six
Any time you mention the Original Six, it evokes history. These are two storied franchises meeting in Game 1 on Wednesday, June 12 in hockey's ultimate event.
It has been 34 seasons since Original Six rivals met in a Stanley Cup Final.
These two organizations have met six times in playoff action before, starting in the 1926-27 campaign and ending with a Bruins' sweep of the Blackhawks in the 1978 quarterfinals. Boston has won five of its postseason series contests with Chicago.
Despite meeting infrequently over the years, there is still plenty of history between these two teams.
2. The Lockout Has Provided an Air of Mystery
Because of the 48-game schedule necessitated by the NHL lockout that delayed the start of the season, there was no inter-conference play in 2012-13. Wednesday night marks the first time East and West have collided this season.
The unfamiliarity between the two conferences creates a unique air of uncertainty. Which conference has prepared its champion for a victory in the Stanley Cup Final?
For the record, the Bruins have won five of the last seven meetings between the two teams dating back to the 2007-08 season. They also own victories in the last two contests.
The Blackhawks' two wins over Boston came in the 2009-10 campaign, the last season in which they hoisted the Stanley Cup.
3. These Are the 2 Best Teams Right Now
The 'Hawks have been a dominant team for most of this season.
As the winners of the President's Trophy, Chicago wasn't a surprise to come out of the Western Conference. After rallying to defeat Detroit in the conference semifinals, the Blackhawks put away the defending champion Kings in five games.
Boston was the Eastern Conference's fourth seed, but has been impressive since its comeback against Toronto in the conference quarterfinals. The Bruins' dismantling of Pittsburgh in the Eastern Finals leaves little doubt that both of these teams are playing championship hockey heading into the game's biggest stage.
4. Both Teams Can Play Defensive Hockey
These are two teams that know their way around the blue line.
Boston has Zdeno Chara. Chicago counters with Duncan Keith. The Bruins have Dennis Seidenberg to help shut opposing forwards down, while the 'Hawks have Niklas Hjalmarsson.
It's Boston's Johnny (Boychuk) vs. Chicago's Johnny (Oduya).
Not surprisingly, the Stanley Cup Final could easily boil down to defensive supremacy.
Tuukka Rask has been outstanding in net for the Bruins, but don't sell Chicago's Corey Crawford short. Crawford has been big when needed and outlasted Detroit's Jimmy Howard and L.A.'s Jonathan Quick in the last two rounds.
Goals could be hard to come by for both teams in this series.
5. These Teams Have Been Here Before
Neither Boston or Chicago should have difficulty handling the pressure of the Stanley Cup Final. Both teams have been on the NHL's grand stage recently.
Chicago won the 2010 Stanley Cup, while Boston laid claim to the league championship the following season. Both rosters have a lot of experience battling for hockey's greatest heirloom.
'Hawks coach Joel Quenneville and Bruins coach Claude Julien also have ample playoff experience as they lead their squads to within four wins of a second title.
Discovering who comes out on top is going to be awfully exciting for hockey fans from all around the continent.