Good Afternoon, Hockey World! Tonight, the Stanley Cup Finals take center stage. The 2015 Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning is going to be an exciting, high-octane matchup.

First, who are you picking to win the Stanley Cup? I am picking with the Lightning to win in seven games. That being said, I wouldn’t be  shocked if the Blackhawks won the series in four games.

Expect the unexpected.

Here are a few statistics you might find interesting. Getting the lead in the series is going to be very important. The Blackhawks are 6-0 when they’re leading after the first period in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs; their opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning are 5-0. Breaking it down further, Blackhawks are 9-1 when scoring first and the Lightning are 9-0.

There’s a lot of breaking hockey news this morning. Here’re a few of the stories that you will find above the fold.

Stanley Cup stories of interest

Blackhawks’ Brad Richards gets chance for 2nd Stanley Cup (Puck Daddy)

I have often pondered this as well: Why don’t more Americans watch the Stanley Cup Final? (Puck Daddy)

Everything you need to know about the Stanley Cup Final (Business Insider)

Yzerman on Jonathan Toews, who idolized him: “He’s just a better hockey player.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

Still in mourning, Blackhawks inspired by Clint Reif, Steve Montador (Chicago Sun Times)

Three Key Matchups To Watch In Stanley Cup Final (The Hockey Writers)

Regular Season MLB Has Higher TV Ratings Than NHL Game 7s on Friday And Saturday (Forbes.com)

Hockey News: Jeff Petry’s New Contract; Stanley Cup Final Prediction (the Hockey Writers)

Will Lightning Strike in Chicago? Previewing the Cup Final (the Hockey Writers)

Bishop stands tall in net for Lightning (Yahoo.com)

Blackhawks-Lightning: Who has edge in the Stanley Cup Final? (NBC on Yahoo Sports)

Goalless Bickell hopes he’s ‘been saving them’ for Stanley Cup Final (Pro Hockey Talk)

The Lightning are disallowing out-of-state residents from buying tickets. Also, the Lightning have banned visiting jerseys from premium seating, check it out: Tampa Bay’s Hockey Dress Code Insults Lightning Fans (Bloomberg view)

Other NHL News

Wild to begin contract talks with G Devan Dubnyk (CBS Sports)

John Hynes hired by NJ Devils, becomes NHL’s youngest coach (Puck Daddy)

One of the places that Mike Reilly could land is with the Minnesota Wild: Prized Gophers d-man Reilly to meet with teams at combine (Pro Hockey Talk)

Former Western Michigan head coach Jeff Blashill not expecting a decision on Wings’ job this week (Pro Hockey Talk)

Ducks GM stops short of guaranteeing Boudreau’s return (The Score)

About The Author

College Hockey Writer, Contributing Editor

Eric Burton is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers college hockey and the University of North Dakota for Inside Hockey. Eric is the editor of the SIN BIN. Lastly, Eric was the college hockey writer for The Hockey Writers.

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