Hawks-Bruins is first Original Six Final since '79
The first Original Six Stanley Cup Final since 1979 is now a reality.
In 1979, the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers met in the Final with the Canadiens winning the last of four straight titles with a five-game victory.
Thirty-four years later, the Boston Bruins, who swept the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Eastern Conference title, and the Chicago Blackhawks, who knocked out the defending champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, renew their Original Six rivalry in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. It's a meeting between two recent winners -- the Bruins won the Cup against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011, succeeding the Blackhawks, who defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in six games in 2010.
Game 1 is Wednesday at United Center in Chicago (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).
Despite being rivals since the inception of the League, the Bruins and Blackhawks do not have much of a postseason history. This will be the seventh time the teams have met in the playoffs, the first since a four-game sweep by Boston in the first round in 1978 that continued the Bruins' domination of the postseason meetings between the two teams.
The teams did not play each other during the 2012-13 regular season because of the truncated schedule caused by the lockout.
Chicago is the favorite coming out of the gate. The Blackhawks won the Presidents' Trophy as the NHL's best team, finishing 15 points ahead of Boston (77-62), which finished fourth in the East.
The teams have followed similar paths to reach the final checkpoint in the grueling marathon that is the march to the Stanley Cup. Each survived a seven-game scare -- Boston against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round; Chicago against the Detroit Red Wings in the second round -- but otherwise dominated for the most part.
The finalists are very similar in construction. Each features a goalie playing at an elite level, a varied defense corps capable of playing both ends of the ice, and a deep fleet of forwards that features a potential game-changer on each line.
All in all, it appears to be a recipe for an unforgettable Stanley Cup Final.