5 Storylines to Follow During the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals
Five Stanley Cup Storylines
After a long and exciting postseason, the wait is finally over. Tonight, the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks will take the ice for game one of the Stanley Cup Finals. Both teams took two incredibly different paths to get here, but both have the same goal in mind: raising the cup again.
The Blackhawks were one of the most dominant teams we’ve ever seen in a regular season. They started out the year 21-0-3, setting a record for most consecutive games with a point to start a season. They used a two-goalie system and both Ray Emery and Corey Crawford were unbeatable at the early stages of the season. When it came to playoff time, the Hawks decided to go with Crawford in net and he has not disappointed with a 1.74 goals against average. The Blackhawks come in after taking down the defending champs Los Angeles Kings in five games.
The Bruins had an up-and-down regular season, but have really turned it on for the playoffs. David Krejci has turned into a superstar and they have gotten spectacular goaltending from Tuukka Rask (1.75 GAA). They also come in red hot; after defeating the New York Rangers in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bruins proceeded to sweep the top seeded Pittsburgh Penguins to make their way back to the finals.
These two teams possess similar styles. They both play physical, have excellent goaltending and can score a ton of goals when needed. This promises to be a series for the ages and here are five storylines to keep an eye on when you are checking out the action.
Original Six Matchup
This will be the first time since 1979 that two teams from the Original Six will be meeting in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Bruins and the Blackhawks are two of the original six teams that started the NHL and it is good to see tradition and historic elements take shape.
Who Wins the Goaltending Battle?
The two hottest goaltenders in the league will be in net for their respective teams. Both have been lights out all postseason long, but neither has Stanley Cup experience. Rask was the backup to Tim Thomas when the Bruins won the cup in 2011 and Crawford was the third string goalie for the Hawks during their 2010 victory. Now each has a chance to steal the spotlight.
Jagr Returns to the Finals
It has been 21 years since the last time Jaromir Jagr won a Stanley Cup Final. He has bounced around to different teams and accepted a trade to head over from the Dallas Stars to the Bruins at the trade deadline to give himself another chance. While the numbers haven’t been there for Jagr (zero goals this postseason), he is getting a ton of shots on goal and he should be able to break through when it counts most.
Who Wins the Special Teams Battle?
Another thing these two teams have in common this postseason: great penalty kill and awful power play. The Bruins are 15.6 percent on the power play and have killed off 86.5 percent. The Blackhawks are only scoring on 13.7 percent and have killed off a ridiculous 94.6 percent. Goals will be tough to come by in this series so special teams will play a large part.
Act Like You've Been Here Before
The Eastern and Western Conference Finals featured the last four teams to win a Cup. These two teams bring experience and know what it takes to get it done, which will prove to truly make this series one to remember.