The 2013 Stanley Cup Final is officially set as the Bruins and Blackhawks -- two of the last three Cup winners -- aim to add to their championship collections.
After erasing a 4-1 third-period deficit in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs in the first round, the Bruins steamrolled through the second and third rounds, bouncing the Rangers in five games and sweeping the top-seeded Penguins (and allowing only two goals while doing so). Meanwhile. the Blackhawks came back from a 3-1 deficit in the second round against the Red Wings (they defeated the Wild in five in the first round) before dethroning the defending champion Kings in the Western Conference Final.
To prepare yourselves accordingly for Wednesday's Game 1, here is a handy guide to the final round. Consider this your CliffsNotes for when you inevitably have an argument that unnecessarily escalates.
(And yes, I understand any confusion about why I am posting a preview of a series involving Boston and Chicago on a Washington website. I'm just choosing to ignore it.)
- Boston: The Bruins never trailed during their conference final series against the Penguins, the 16th four-game sweep in NHL playoff history in which that occurred. They have won seven of their last eight playoff series dating back to 2011, the only blemish being a first-round loss to the Capitals last season.
- Chicago: The Blackhawks will look to become just the seventh of 27 total Presidents' Trophy recipients -- which is awarded to the team with the best regular season record -- to win the Stanley Cup. The 2007-08 Red Wings were the last to do so, but history is on the Blackhawks' side: six of the eight Presidents' Trophy winners to reach the Stanley Cup Final have won it.
Championship Matchup Facts!
Bruins/Blackhawks is the first "Original Six" Final since 1979 and the first between the two teams in question. Boston and Chicago, however, have competed for a title twice before.
- Super Bowl XX: (1986): The Bears defeated the Patriots 46-10 as the former's 46 defense held the latter to just 123 total yards, the second fewest in Super Bowl history. Up With People performed something called "Beat Of The Future" as dancers wore blazers with the sleeves rolled up, which was the style at the time, while gyrating on the yard lines.
- 1918 World Series: The Red Sox, led by star pitcher Babe Ruth (yes, that one), defeated the Cubs in six games to win their last championship until 2004. Game 1 was the first time that "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed at a major-league game. Up With People was still decades away from enlightening us all with their unique brand of inoffensive pop.
Hey, Watch This!
Apparently unaware of child labor laws, the Blackhawks employ a precocious reporter named Joey to conduct hard-hitting interviews. To his credit, he asks better questions than I do.
Joey has heart, but "Bear & The Gang" has a bear and its gang.
I don't know about you, but I'd love to see a special crossover episode of "Bear & The Gang" where Jack Edwards teaches Joey about the art of hyperbole.
Noteworthy Celebrity Fans!
In all seriousness, this should be one hell of a series between two teams with similar makeups -- strong depth throughout the forward lines and defensive pairings, two solid goaltenders capable of stealing both games and series, and two veteran coaching staffs with battled-tested rosters (the Bruins return 17 players from their 2011 Cup team, while the Blackhawks' core from their 2010 team remains intact).
So who wins? Here comes the corny answer: We all do.
Well, except for the losers.
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