The 2013 Stanley Cup Final gets underway Wednesday night. Even if you're not a fan of either one of the finalists, you can't get a better matchup to decide who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.
Two talented teams. Two historic franchises. Two great hockey cities. Two recent champions. This matchup has it all.
Chicago, which won the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the most points in the regular season, last won the cup in 2010 and is looking to complete a historic year after beginning this lockout-shortened season with an NHL-record 24-game start without a regulation loss. In the playoffs, the Blackhawks first dispatched the Wild in five. They were then on the ropes against Detroit, down 3-1, but came back to win in a thrilling seventh game. Finally, the Blackhawks dethroned the defending champion Kings in five games, courtesy of a Game 5 hat trick by 24-year-old superstar Patrick Kane.
The Bruins, who still have 17 players on their roster from their 2011 cup-winning team, have been unstoppable since their incredible comeback over Toronto in Game 7 of the first round. They rallied from a 4-1 third-period deficit (4-2 in the final two minutes) to beat the Leafs in overtime on a Patrice Bergeron goal. The B's subsequently got by the Rangers in five, then humiliated the favored Penguins in a dominating sweep.
The Blackhawks are fast, skilled and like to score. The Bruins are gritty, mean and wear down their opponents. Fully expect this series to go seven games, and it wouldn't be surprising if there is an overtime in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since Detroit beat Montreal in 1954.
Michael Smith is an intern in the news section of DeseretNews.com. A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism in the fall.