For the first time in NHL history, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks will battle for the Stanley Cup. It also marks the first time since 1979 that two Original Six teams will meet in the Final.
Both teams enter their series having easily eliminated worthy opponents in their respective conference finals. The Bruins swept the Pittsburgh Penguins, limiting the offensively loaded top seed in the Eastern Conference to just two goals. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks put an end to the Los Angeles Kings' title defense in five games, snapping L.A.’s 15-game home winning streak in the process.
However, the Bruins and Blackhawks also found themselves on the brink of disaster earlier in the playoffs.
The Bruins dropped two straight games to the Toronto Maple Leafs and trailed, 4-1, in Game 7 with just over 10 minutes remaining in their first-round series. That’s when their dominant run began. The Bruins scored three straight to tie it and Patrice Bergeron scored at 6:05 of overtime to complete an amazing comeback. The Bruins have gone 8-1 since, led by their strong team defense and remarkable goaltending from Tuukka Rask.
The Blackhawks' biggest test came in Round 2, when they found themselves down 3-1 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings. The Blackhawks, however, had little trouble in beating the Wings in the next two games before winning an epic Game 7 showdown in overtime on a goal by Brent Seabrook.
With that in mind, here is a complete preview of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.