It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas, even better: the Stanley Cup Finals. Like any long quest, there are moments of great success, defeat and sacrifice, but that’s what makes a team truly successful after all. The pursuit began with a legendary Game 7 victory over Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Days later, after a five game series, the Bruins were triumphant against the highly acclaimed Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. The pressure was high leading up to the Eastern Conference Finals against the elite Pittsburgh Penguins. A series that was physical in nature led to the ultimate demise and self-destruction of the projected Stanley Cup contenders and most notably, superstar forward Sidney Crosby. But before moving on, it is only fair to take a moment and remind Iggy that he did in fact go to the wrong city, wish Soupy a speedy recovery, and bow down at the feet of the almighty Tuukka Rask.
The Stanley Cup Finals commence on Wednesday in the “Windy City” of Chicago. The Bruins will be tested physically and mentally in this ultimate showdown of hockey talent. The Chicago Blackhawks bested last year’s Stanley Cup winners, the LA Kings, in five games in the Western Conference Finals. Chicago dominated both offensively and defensively, with goaltender Corey Crawford serving as the backbone of the ‘Hawks’ defense. The Blackhawks started off the season with 21 regular season wins and only three overtime losses, and they’ve never looked back.
The history of these two teams go back 87 years to 1926, when the Chicago Blackhawks entered the National Hockey League. Game 1 of this series marks the first Stanley Cup Finals meeting between these Original Six teams and only their seventh playoff series ever. To say this is a highly anticipated match-up would be the understatement of the 2012 – 2013 NHL season.
With little history, it is hard to gauge what this series will look like and which team is more in favor of quenching their thirst out of Lord Stanley’s Cup. But it only seems fitting to take a look at the history between these two teams. The most unforgettable matchup (at least for Bruins’ fans) between these two Original Six teams came back in 1974, when the Bruins beat the Blackhawks four games to two. A year later, in 1975, the Blackhawks gave Boston a run for their money, Boston blew out the Blackhawks 8-2 in Game 1, in Game 2, the Bruins lost 5-4 in OT and then again in Game 3, with a 6-4 final score. The Bruins outshoot Chicago 56-19, confirming Tony Esposito’s legendary status as goalie of the 1975 series.
This series will be a true test for the goalies, and those who had little faith in Rask’s ability at the start of the season are finally beginning to see the light. Based on his performance this year, he has given the Bruins a fighting chance in every single game during the Playoffs this year.The Stanley Cup Finals are were true champions are born and I won’t be shocked if Tuukka’s name is shouted from Causeway Street, or better yet, every street in the state of Massachusetts.
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals will be held Wednesday night, in Chicago, at 8 PM.