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2013 Stanley Cup Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. Boston Bruins

For the first time since 1979 the Stanley Cup Finals feature an original six matchup. After being the best team in the league by a significant margin during the regular season, Chicago holds home ice advantage against Boston. Both teams have overcome tremendous adversity during the postseason to get to this point. The Bruins have been the more surprising and perhaps more impressive team thus far in the playoffs.

Seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference, Boston faced Toronto during the opening round of the playoffs. After scoring without too much trouble during the opening four games of the series and getting themselves within one win of advancing, the offense went silent in back-to-back 2-1 loses during games five and six. Hosting game seven the Bruins fell behind 2-1 after the second period. The Leafs scored twice in the opening six minutes of the third stanza to open up a 4-1 lead. Boston trailed 4-2 with less than two minutes to go when Milan Lucic scored with an extra attacker on to cut the deficit to 4-3. Patrice Bergeron's goal 31 seconds later sent the game to overtime. Then Bergeron potted the game winner six minutes into the extra session.

Since that unlikely comeback, Boston has rolled. They took out the Rangers in five games, and as a heavy underdog swept the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. Pittsburgh, the highest scoring team in the NHL, was held to two goals in four games by the Bruins. Boston's toughness and guile have been on display in the postseason.

As for Chicago, after a workmanlike five game series victory over Minnesota, the Hawks fell behind Detroit three games to one in the Western Semis. Following a 4-1 home victory in game five, Chicago faced a 2-1 deficit entering the third period of game six. Michal Handzus tied the game less than a minute into the final period, and Bryan Bickell, and Michael Frolik scored over the next nine minutes giving the Hawks a 4-2 lead, and they forced game seven with a  4-3 victory. After taking a 1-0 lead in the final game of the series, Detroit evened things up early in the third period. Chicago appeared to score the game winning goal late in regulation but it was waved off because of a disputed penalty behind the play. Never fear, in overtime Brent Seabrook delivered his first goal of the playoffs sending the Hawks to the Western Finals.

Simply put, after beating Detroit, the Blackhawks were just better than the Kings in the Conference Finals. They won in five games, three of which were one goal contests, but Chicago dictated the action from the start of the series.

Boston has gone 4-1 during overtime games in the playoffs while Chicago is 3-1 in extra periods. The teams did not meet during the regular season and haven't faced each other since October 15, 2011 when the Bruins won in Chicago 3-2.

Two years ago the Bruins won their first Stanley Cup since 1972. Three seasons ago the Blackhawks earned their first championship since 1961. Boston's franchise was founded in 1924. They have won six championships. Chicago began play in the NHL in 1926. They have won four titles. Boston and Chicago have never met in the Stanley Cup Finals.


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