The Stanley Cup finals for 2013 will be between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks; two teams that were dominant in their respective conference finals.
Eastern conference showdown
On paper, I think it is safe to say that the Penguins are one of the top teams in the NHL, with tons of leadership coming in after acquiring Iginla and Morrow, who were both captains of their previous teams. The Penguins entered the Eastern Conference finals with tons of confidence. After defeating the Islanders in six and the Senators in five, they were expected to put up a solid fight against the Bruins.
Beginning with an exciting first series against Toronto, the Bruins have been unstoppable. The previous series against Pittsburgh was an embarrassment to the Penguins organization, but also an inspiration for the Bruin’s organization and fan base.
Watching the series between the Bruins and Penguins showed that the Bruins were a different team than we had seen throughout the shortened regular season. They played playoff hockey, and showed that they wanted to win more than the Penguins. The Bruins came out each night for one purpose, to get the job done. This was evident in their discipline, scorers stepping up, as well as solid goaltending by Tuukka Rask. The Bruins also were able to receive inspiration by the miraculous penalty kill of Gregory Campbell who had experienced a broken leg after blocking a shot.
Western conference showdown
The Kings’ “Road to Repeat” ended quickly after being unable to compete with the depth of talent in Chicago’s roster.
Chicago snapped L.A.’s home game winning streak in the playoffs, resulting in winning the series in five games.
After hosting the longest streak without a regulation loss during the regular season, the Blackhawks are continuing to show how they did it. With players such as Bryan Bickell stepping up to create offense, they were able to not rely on scoring from players such as Patrick Kane (who has held scoreless for seven straight games, dating back to the Detroit series; until scoring in game four and his outstanding hat-trick in game five).
Stanley Cup final preview
This Stanley Cup final is between two Original Six teams who have each won a Stanley Cup in the previous three years. This is one of the most well-balanced Stanley Cup finals in several years. Both teams come in after dominating their conference finals, having plenty of rest, and lots of roster depth. They also both have been assisted with impressive goaltending between the pipes. It comes down to discipline and the ability to have all lines creating offense.
I think the Bruins are the best and hottest team in the NHL currently. They turned it up at the right time, and all cylinders are firing. They have the backing up of the nation after showing their determination, headed by Gregory Campbell. Unless the Blackhawks continue to generate points from players such as Bickell, I think the Bruins are too hot to be beat.
I predict an extended series, either six or seven games. I predict that there will be strong goaltending from both teams. I predict that the Bruin’s big defense will be able to hold Kane, Toews, and other top scorers to minimal goals. Because of this, my prediction is a Bruins Stanley Cup victory in seven.
Game one is this Wednesday in Chicago. Game starts at 8:00PM EDT.
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