Point/Counterpoint: Who will win the Stanley Cup Finals?

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Chicago Blackhawks — 1-Seed, Western Conference

The Chicago Blackhawks are going to win the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks come into the Stanley Cup Finals having won seven of their last eight postseason games, and they’re playing some of their best hockey after a Stephen King-like scare against the Detroit Redwings in the conference semifinals.

Head coach Joe Quenneville and his team is prepared to face a scorching hot Boston Bruins team that recently dismantled Sidney Crosby’s Penguins. But Boston hasn’t seen an offense like Chicago’s.

The Blackhawks have four All-Star-caliber forwards in Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, and Jonathan Toews. Bryan Bickell has scored 8 goals so far in the playoffs. Defensemen Duncan Keith, Nick Leddy, and Brent Seabrook are known for joining the offensive rush and wreaking havoc in opposing team’s zones.

Boston relies on an aggressive forecheck, a physical defense, and a great goaltender. The Blackhawks have previously seen a combination of all three elements in these playoffs. The Detroit Redwings took away Chicago’s ability to make plays in space while checking the life right out of the President Trophy Winners. Yet the Blackhawks still found a way to get it done.

Next, they took on Jonathan Quick and the defending Stanley Cup champs in the Western Conference Finals. Quick is the best goalie in the NHL, and he was last postseason’s MVP, but even he and the Kings’ aggressive forecheck proved to be no match for Chicago’s high flying offense as they were eliminated in five games.

There is a lot of excitement surrounding the Stanley Cup Finals, and both teams will have rocking home crowds. Expect this to be a long, physical series until the end, but I’m picking the Blackhawks in seven.

— by Dominick White

Boston Bruins — 4-Seed, Eastern Conference

The Chicago Blackhawks are in trouble.

The Boston Bruins are on a roll, and they’re not looking to stop until Lord Stanley’s Cup is back in Beantown for the organization’s second Cup in the last three years.

Just look at how they’ve been playing over the course of the postseason. Since allowing the Maple Leafs into a Game 7 in the first round, the Bruins have lost once: an overtime Game 4 loss in New York to the Rangers.

Goalie Tuukka Rask proved himself mightily in Eastern Conference Finals against the Penguins, particularly in Game 4, when he prevented a game tying shot at the final buzzer to seal the win — just one of his 26 saves that night. The goalkeeper stopped 53 shots in a double-overtime victory in the previous match. Over the course of the series, he allowed only 2 goals to the Penguins, who were the highest scoring team in the NHL.

Boston has also relied on a multitude of players besides Rask to earn victories: David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron won the Game 3 overtime matchup against the Penguins. Defenseman Adam McQuaid, who only scored 1 goal in the regular season, scored the only goal needed to seal the deal in Game 4.

Boston is a versatile, lethal team that has already faced a top-seeded team — which resulted in a sweep.

It looks like the ’Hawks will be next.

— by Matt Cabel

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