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Resiliency, Experience Will Help Blackhawks Overcome Lightning In Stanley Cup Finals

Posted by on 6/1/2015 10:37:41 PM

Hockey fans were rewarded with a pair of Game 7’s in this year’s conference finals and after the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks advanced in impressive fashion the spotlight now shifts to an intriguing Stanley Cup Finals matchup. The Blackhawks are the veteran team that has been here before while the Lightning are the young team looking to prove their detractors wrong and there is no shortage of star power on both teams. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have the Stanley Cup pedigree but given the opportunity what will Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson have in store? Here is a quick look at what both teams will have to do to win it all.

2015 Stanley Cup Finals

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Best-of-7 Series

What It Will Take For Lightning To Win

Tampa Bay is trying to become the first team since the 1992 Pittsburgh Penguins to lead the league in scoring during the regular season and then win the Stanley Cup but if they are going to do that they will need to do a better job of capitalizing on their opportunities. The Lightning ranked in the top-five in the NHL in short percentage during the regular season but they have dipped under 50-percent in that department in the playoffs and relied too much on goaltending. Ben Bishop has been up to the task as he is just the third goalie in NHL history to record two Game 7 shutouts in the same postseason but Chicago is undoubtedly the most dangerous offensive opponent Tampa Bay will face in these playoffs and Bishop has never been to this stage. The line of Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat have accounted for 28 of the Lightning’s 55 goals in these playoffs but they will certainly need more from the other scorers. There is no doubt that Bishop and the second line will need to be at their best in this series but it will also be on Stamkos and company to really step up and be the difference.

What It Will Take For Blackhawks To Win

The fact that the Blackhawks were able to battle back from the brink with consecutive wins while facing elimination against Anaheim cannot be overlooked as the Ducks were a legitimate Stanley Cup team that was in control of their series but couldn’t put away Chicago. That type of resilience cannot be overlooked especially with a team as talented and experienced as the Blackhawks. Chicago’s powerplay has struggled in these playoffs but came alive with a couple of key goals late in the Western Conference Finals including the Toews goal that made it 2-0 in Game 7. Toews and Kane will undoubtedly be at their best again on the biggest stage but it will be just as important for players like Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Brad Richards to play an important offensive role. Blackhawks fans are still waiting for Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell to have their breakthrough moments in these playoffs and the Stanley Cup Finals would be the perfect stage. Meanwhile, Corey Crawford has been excellent behind a battered defense core since retaking the Chicago net against the Minnesota Wild in the second round and he will obviously have to carry over his high level of play in order to shut things down in the Blackhawks end against a very dangerous Tampa Bay attack.

Outlook & Pick

The Lightning certainly deserve to be here and despite some lulls in their last two series they are clearly the best choice to represent the Eastern Conference. However, the Blackhawks have proved just by getting here that they deserve the benefit of the doubt heading in to this best-of-7 series especially considering the way they were able to battle back against the Ducks in the Western Conference Final. Chicago has the talent, experience, depth and championship pedigree and considering how they man aged to get here it’s hard to imagine them being stopped by Tampa Bay now.

Pick: Chicago in Six

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