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For the first time since 1979, two Original Six teams will square off in the Stanley Cup Finals, with the Bruins taking on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Both teams have been playing well this post season and are coming off dominating performances. The Boston Bruins swept the playoff favorites, the Pittsburgh Penguins, out of the Eastern Conference playoffs, while the Chicago Blackhawks defeated hockey’s hottest regular season team, the L.A. Kings, 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals.
The Bruins and Blackhawks have won a Stanley Cup in recent past, with the Blackhawks winning in 2010 and the Bruins winning in 2011. This will be the first time all season that the two teams have matched up.
The finalists play very similar hockey, with both teams featuring a superstar goalie, with Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks and Tuukka Rask of the Bruins, and a set of strong defensive corps that can not only shut down top scorers, but can also score on their own. Both offenses can also score, with both teams having strong offensive players that find the net in any given time.
Perhaps, with such two similar physical and dominating teams, the NHL will see its best ratings it has seen in recent years, even in a lockout-shortened season.
NHL.com’s Shawn P. Roarke believes the Bruins will win the series if they continue to play opportunistic offense, play patient and conscientious defense, and get elite-level goaltending from Tuukka Rask. The Bruins also excel at penalty killing and are always able to keep their cool even when their opponents can not.
Roarke also states that, “The Bruins can do it again because all of those things are part of the foundation of the system for success, one that was validated with a Stanley Cup triumph 24 months ago. If they are hitting successfully on each one, they become a team with few flaws that is nearly impossible to rattle or break down.”