Stanley Cup Finals Feature Original Six Blackhawks-Bruins BattleErik Matuszewski
The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins will meet in the first Stanley Cup finals since 1979 to match two National Hockey League franchises from the group of teams called the Original Six.
The Blackhawks host the Bruins in Game 1 of the NHL’s best-of-seven championship series on June 12 after winning their respective conference titles.
Chicago and Boston were among the six teams -- along with the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings -- that played in the NHL from 1942 through 1967, when the league expanded by adding six more clubs. The last time two Original Six franchises played for the Stanley Cup was 34 years ago, when Montreal beat the Rangers.
“The tradition of the Bruins and the Hawks is special,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. “I’m sure the rivalry could return instantly come Game 1. It’s good for the league. It’s good for hockey. Two great hockey markets. We’re very excited to be a part of it.”
The Blackhawks are favored to win their fifth Stanley Cup title, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book, with bettors having to wager $145 to make a $100 profit. A winning $100 bet on the Bruins would return $125.
The Blackhawks and Bruins didn’t meet during the regular season, which because of a lockout was shortened to 48 games and limited to intraconference matchups.
“I think everybody was speculating that at the beginning of the year, how was that going to play out,” Quenneville said. “I’m sure we got to see Boston quite a bit. I’m sure they watched every bit of our games.”
The Blackhawks, who had the best record in the NHL during the regular season at 36-7-5, won the Western Conference title by beating the defending Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings four games to one. Chicago eliminated the Kings with a 4-3 double-overtime victory in Game 5 on June 8.
The Bruins, the fourth seed in the East, swept the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference finals to reach the championship round.
Boston captured its sixth Stanley Cup title following the 2010-11 season, a year after Chicago won its fourth.
“It never gets old. It’s always a great feeling to be back in the finals,” Bruins center Chris Kelly told reporters after Game 5 against the Kings. “You never take it for granted because it is a difficult thing to have happen and we’re fortunate to be back in such a short time.”
Both teams have been pushed to overtime wins in decisive seventh games this postseason.
The Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 series deficit during the second round against the Red Wings and beat Detroit 2-1 in overtime of Game 7. The Bruins were 5-4 overtime winners against the Maple Leafs in Game 7 of their first-round series.
“Every team that makes it far can look back at a turning point where you had a game that gave them that extra jolt they needed,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “That was the case for us this year. We could have been watching from afar.”