Jun 12, 2013, 8:06 AM EDT
Chicago Blackhawks host Boston Bruins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra)
It begins tonight. Everything the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have accomplished up to this point, every win, goal, save, and hit only matters to the extent that it got them this far. One of these teams will be immortalized as champions while the other will only be remembered as the final hurdle that had to be overcome.
We’ve had three off-days in a row and in that time these teams have been scrutinized from every angle, but if you just want the short version, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews summed it up best:
“They have guys all over their lineup, top to bottom, role players, score goals all season, understand what it takes to win. They don’t have a lot of holes in their game. We feel like we’re the same team. It’s just going to come down to who wants it more.”
Both of these teams have won the Stanley Cup recently, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re desperate want to see their season end in triumph.
“The excitement is there,” Bruins coach Claude Julien told Boston Globe. “You’ve heard people say, ‘Once you’ve been there, you want to go back.’ It’s true, we really want to go back; we made it happen. We’re excited about it and we also know what kind of challenge lies ahead for us. It’s about acknowledging that and being ready for it.”
Plus there are players that are relatively new to their respective clubs or just weren’t able to contribute when the Blackhawks and Bruins previously won it all. Guys like Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who is getting ready for his first Stanley Cup finals game.
“I dreamed about it my whole life,” Crawford said. “Worked hard, so it’s nice to finally get there after all the work. But there’s still a lot to do so we’ve got to be ready.”
Then there is the other thing that’s at stake in this series: Consideration as a dynasty. By the end of this month, Boston will have either won two Cups in the span of three years, or Chicago will have claimed the prize twice in four seasons. While everyone will have their own feelings about what makes a genuine dynasty, that is at very least a big step in that direction.
It’s also incredibly impressive given the degree of parity in the modern NHL. Nine different teams have won the Stanley Cup over the previous nine seasons. One way or another, that streak will end.
Apr 27, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT
Tom Stillman did say “I’m sure there’ll be changes” following another first-round playoff defeat.
Apr 27, 2015, 4:56 PM EDT
Expected to make full recovery within 4-6 weeks.
Apr 27, 2015, 4:11 PM EDT
Former Maple Leaf and Red Wing appeared in over 1,200 career games, winning five Stanley Cups.
Apr 27, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT
Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis were each asked if they’d be willing to waive their no-trade clauses.
Apr 27, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT
Flames head coach Bob Hartley confirmed the decision on Monday.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:40 PM EDT
Tournament will be a big one for the Flyers forward.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:17 PM EDT
Thus ending the Scott Darling era… for now.
Apr 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
New building could open by the fall of 2017.
Apr 27, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
Diminutive forward left Game 5 after taking a shot to the helmet.
Apr 27, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT
Tournament begins May 1 in the Czech Republic.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT
Interference aside, Tampa Bay has had no shortage of power-play time.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:52 AM EDT
Referees Dan O’Rourke (No. 9) and Dan O’Halloran (No. 13), linesmen Greg Devorski (No. 54) and Michel Cormier (No. 76).
Apr 27, 2015, 11:35 AM EDT
Pittsburgh has a lot of cap space tied up in two players.
Apr 27, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT
Washington makes a lineup change in advance of Game 7 versus the Isles.
Apr 27, 2015, 10:59 AM EDT
“I spent seven years there.”
Apr 27, 2015, 10:53 AM EDT
“I’m on my way to coming back. I’m just going through the protocol.”
Apr 27, 2015, 10:07 AM EDT
Boston will also interview Ray Shero and Paul Fenton.
Apr 27, 2015, 9:45 AM EDT
Injury information trickling in following Ottawa’s Game 6 loss.
Apr 27, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
He was one of Pittsburgh’s final cuts in the fall.
Apr 27, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT
The Islanders and Capitals meet in Game 7 for the first time since 1987.
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