Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Stanley Cup history weighty in Blackhawks-Bruins final

CHICAGO — Two franchises rich in history, talent and star power.

The Stanley Cup final kicks off Wednesday when the Blackhawks host the Bruins in the first Cup final matchup of Original Six franchises since Montreal beat the Rangers in 1979.

Chicago and Boston also have won two of the past three Cups, the Blackhawks in 2010 and the Bruins in 2011.

The winner will be the first team to win multiple Cups since the 2004-05 lockout and the institution of a salary cap.

The Blackhawks advanced when Patrick Kane scored his third goal of the game in double overtime for a 4-3 win over the defending champion Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference final late Saturday.

Chicago has won seven of its past eight games with a deep roster that found its identity when pushed to the limit by the Red Wings in the second round.

"Here we are again," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We got a great chance to go back to where we want to be. We know there's going to be some more tough moments that we'll have to battle through. We're confident we can do that as a team."

Boston needed a desperate effort to get past the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the first round, the got on a roll. The Bruins have won five in a row — including a sweep of the Penguins in the East final — and nine of 10, boosted by a familiar group that led the way when they won it all in 2011.

"The excitement is there," coach Claude Julien said Sunday. "You've heard people say, 'Once you've been there, you 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."

The Bruins were on the brink of elimination when they trailed Toronto 4-1 with less than 11 minutes left in the third period of Game 7. They won 5-4 in overtime.

The Blackhawks in the second round came back from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate the Red Wings. The comeback included a three-goal flurry in Game 6 that erased a 2-1 deficit heading into the final period.

"(The Bruins are) on an amazing roll," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "They were on the ropes in one game. We were on the ropes for three. They got a lot of momentum where they're at right now. Should set up for a great final."

The teams haven't played since Oct. 15, 2011, when Boston won 3-2 in a shootout.

"I think all the information is out there for both teams to understand how we both play," Julien said. "There's no secrets there. …It's about having confidence in what you plan on doing and going out there and executing it. That's all you can do."

AHL final: Lightning affiliate Syracuse dropped Game 2 of the Calder Cup final to visiting Grand Rapids 6-4 to trail 2-0 in the series. Game 3 is Wednesday at Grand Rapids, the Red Wings' affiliate.

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