Well it is the eve of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals. The greatest trophy in all of professional sports. This year it is an original six matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks. Can you believe that these two teams have never faced each other in the Finals? This is going to be some series. Two four line teams that are skilled, mean, tough and have solid D. Both of these teams have won the Stanley Cup in the past three years, the Bruins two season ago in 2011 and the Hawks three years ago in 2010.
2013 Stanley Cup Facts
- It’s the first time two Original Six teams are meeting in the Stanley Cup final since the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers in 1979.
- 2013 marks the 19th time Boston has been to the Stanley Cup Finals – this is fourth overall in the history of Stanley Cup appearances.
- 2013 marks the 12th time the Chicago Blackhawks are appearing in the Stanley Cup finals – this is fifth most in league history.
- The Boston Bruins have won the Cup on six occassions: 1929,1939,1941, 1970, 1972, 2011.
- The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup four times: 1934, 1938, 1961 and 2010.
- The Boston Bruins (#2) and the Chicago Blackhawks (#4) were featured in our top 50 NHL jerseys of all-time.
- Boston netminder Tuukka Rask has been the most consistent player for the Bruins in beating the Maple Leafs, Rangers, and Penguins.
- Blackhawks tender Corey Crawford has quietly provided his own club with excellent goaltending all season and has helped the team defeat the Wild, Red Wings and last years Stanley Cup winners Los Angeles Kings.
- Boston and Chicago combined to go 1-for-27 on the power play in the last round with Chicago being the only team to score on the PP.
- Chicago Blackhawks left-winger Bryan Bickell has been scoring on 22.9% of his shots in the playoffs.
Boston Bruins right-winger Nathan Horton has been scoring at a 22.9% clip and center David Krejci is scoring on 21.6% of his shots.
Top Scorers Going into the Stanley Cup Finals
So which team has the edge going into the finals?
Coaching: Pretty even here. Joel Quenneville is the 37th coach in Blackhawks history and has a .634 regular season winning % with the team and a .577% playoff winning percentage. Claude Julien for the Bruins was a 2009 Jack Adams winner for NHL Coach of the Year. We mark this even.
Defense: Zdeno Chara is a beast and while Duncan Keith can hold his own, the Chara factor may just be too much to overcome for smaller Hawks forwards. Advantage: Boston
Goaltending: Wow, possibly a slight edge in stats and save percentage to Tuukka Rask but we feel that Corey Crawford is severely underrated. As a result we say Advantage: Chicago
Forwards: We feel that Chicago has the edge here with some depth at the forward position. With the likes of Patrick Kane, Johnathan Toews, Hossa, Patrick Sharp etc the Hawks have a lot of firepower that could score at any time. Advantage: Chicago
Special Teams: Hmm, this one is a toss up as well. Goals on special teams have been so scarce for these teams. The edge may go to the team that scores the most powerplay goals. Even
So which team do we think will win the Stanley Cup? In our 2013 Stanley Cup Predictions post we predicted a Chicago/Pittsburgh final with the Hawks winning in six games. We think that this series could go either way, our heart is now with the Boston Bruins, but we think that the Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup in seven games (we want to say six, but this could be too close to call).
Our game predictions are as follows:
Game One: Chicago 2 vs. Boston 1
Game One: Chicago 0 vs. Boston 2
Game One: Chicago 2 vs. Boston 1
Game One: Chicago 2 vs. Boston 4
Game One: Chicago 2 vs. Boston 1 OT
Game One: Chicago 1 vs. Boston 3
Game One: Chicago 3 vs. Boston 2
It should be a great Stanley Cup final with these two original six teams battling it out.