8 a.m. ET: It’s here. The Stanley Cup Final is about to begin.
Just two years after lifting the Cup in Vancouver after a seven-game battle, the Bruins are right back where they want to be and playing for Lord Stanley’s chalice once again. The Bruins are set to open their latest quest for hockey’s greatest prize, and they’ll do it Wednesday night at the United Center in Chicago.
It’s a matchup that features the two best teams in hockey, with the emphasis on the word team. Both teams are deep, and both teams have plenty of talent, and it’s no surprise that they’re the two clubs remaining. Both got here with convincing conference finals wins, with the Bruins sweeping the No. 1-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the East, as the Hawks dispatched the defending Cup champions Los Angeles Kings in five games out West.
Now the two final combatants will get their first taste of each other since October of 2011. The NHL’s shortened season eliminated interconference play, so this will be the first and only East-West matchup in the NHL this season. That will no doubt make at least some sort of feeling-out process, but it’s not like these two teams don’t know what they’re going up against. The Blackhawks won a Cup just three years ago, and the Bruins, as mentioned, are just two years removed from upending Vancouver in the Final.
The matchup will also mark the first Original Six Stanley Cup Final matchup since 1979, and it will also be the first time these two teams have met in the Final. It’s expected to be an evenly matched series that has all the makings of a classic.
Puck drop for Game 1 is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday night.