We are hours away from puck drop for Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. The United Center in Chicago, Illinois will be packed in attendance as the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Boston Bruins. Both teams have posted impressive seasons and their journey to the Stanley Cup has been nothing short of dramatic. Let’s take a look at how the Blackhawks got here.
In a shortened 48 game season, the Blackhawks finished 2012-13 with a league high 77 points. This included a record setting 24 game point streak to start the season where they managed to record at least one point. As the first seed in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Minnesota Wild in the first round. The Wild managed to play the Blackhawks tight in a few games but it was the Blackhawks speed and ability to score that separated them from their opponent. The Blackhawks went on to win that series 4-1.
Next up was long time Original Six rival, the Detroit Red Wings. Although the Red Wings were the 7th seed in the Western Conference, they jumped on the Blackhawks early taking a 3-1 series lead. Not fazed by the deficit they were facing, the Blackhawks clawed back in the series forcing a Game 7. Late in Game 7 with the game tied 1-1, the Blackhawks scored what would seem to be the series clinching goal. However, it was immediately called off during a controversial penalty call by one of the referees. The teams headed to overtime and the series came down to sudden death. Although they had a potential series clinching goal disallowed, the Blackhawks came out aggressive and with a purpose in the overtime period. Less than 4 minutes in, an unlikely hero, Brent Seabrook, slapped the puck past Red Wings Goalie Jimmy Howard to send Chicago to the Western Conference Final.
In the Western Conference Final, the Chicago Blackhawks took on reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings. The series was fast and physical and at times was often dominated by the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks took a 3-1 lead in the series and headed back to Chicago for Game 5 to try and close it out and advance to the Stanley Cup Final. As the game went along, it looked like the Blackhawks had the game in the bag. They held a 3-2 lead with 14 seconds left. Then the unthinkable happened, the Kings won the faceoff in the Blackhawks end and scored to tie the game. The teams headed to overtime and nothing was settled. However, in the second overtime, the Blackhawks came out fast and Patrick Kane notched his 3rd goal of the night to send his team to the Stanley Cup Final.
So here we are, the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Boston Bruins, and only one team can be victorious and have the honor of hoisting the Stanley Cup. Who will it be? Here’s to hoping this series is as entertaining as the rest of them.
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