The Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning for hockey's top prize.
It has been a wild ride to the Final in this year's quest for Lord Stanley's Cup and another exciting series awaits between these two teams.
You may have been keeping up with Flyerdelphia's Bracket Challenge. In addition to that, our staff has issued predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Here are our predictions.
Brian Startare – The Bolts shut down style of play when they have a lead has been impressive to say the least. However, Chicago's experience and depth seems to be too much for the Lightning to overtake. On a side-note, Ben Bishop could outplay Corey Crawford and give Tampa a fighting chance but it looks as though a Hawk's Dynasty is real - Blackhawks in 5
Frank Klose - Bolts will put up a fight at time but it's hard to pick against Toews, Kane, and Shaw - Blackhawks in 6
Kevin Durso – It's dynasty vs. destiny – Chicago's powerhouse against an upstart group of underdogs in Tampa. I love what the Lightning have brought in these playoffs – energy, unlikely heroes, the emergence of new stars like Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat – and it's hard to argue with road Game 7 victories in Detroit and New York. But I just can't pick against the veterans on the Blackhawks. This is where Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and the rest shine. Chicago's first two Cup-clinching wins came on the road. This time, the finish the job in front of their fans. Oh, and Kimmo Timonen gets the dream finish to his career, which he certainly deserves – Blackhawks in 6
Mike Watson – Simply put, I'd rather see Timonen get one from the press box than Braydon Coburn get one at all. Both Game 7's won by the road team? Very odd – Blackhawks in 7
Rob Riches - While the Blackhawks are stretched thin on the blueline – beyond Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook – their offense is still a force to be reckoned with and Crawford can hold his own in goal. The Hawks were able to take down two hot teams in Anaheim and Minnesota, and the coaching acumen of Joel Quenneville and leadership of Toews are very hard to bet against. They did not look like a tired team in Game 7 against the Ducks despite going through a tough series, but they rather looked like a team whose work is not done yet - Blackhawks in 6
Dain Stiles - Toews and Kane have been here before and they will get it done again. Tampa is young and will give them a fight, but Crawford will do enough to stop Steven Stamkos and company and Chicago will have their third Stanley Cup in five years - Blackhawks in 6
Kate Frese - While the Lightning are strong in the defensive zone, I don't think their offense will make up for the goals I predict Toews, Kane and Andrew Shaw will churn out. I think that Bishop will make it a difficult challenge however, hence me predicting six games - Blackhawks in 6