Doogie (2:02 AM ADT): What did I tell you? What a game.
So here we are, after four months of labour nonsense, a 48-game sprint, and six weeks of playoffs, we’re finally at the end of the line. After three rounds, everyone’s essentially deadlocked, with perfect series looking like it could be the final decider in what’s been the closest round of picks since we started this nonsense. Looking at this final matchup, it’s really difficult to tell who’s got the advantage here, as evidenced by our picks below, and it should turn out to be a classic regardless of the end result. Will Chicago be the first non-Detroit team to win the double in over a decade? Will the Bruins prove that there is no love left in the Universe? Tune in tonight at 9 ADT and find out!
(W1) Chicago vs. (E4) Boston
Playoff History: Not terribly exhaustive. The Original Six era was not terribly kind to either team, though Boston fared somewhat better than Chicago, and they’ve spent most of their subsequent existence in opposing conferences.
|1927 QF||1942 QF||1970 SF||1974 SF||1975 PRE||1978 QF|
* – Denotes two-game, total-goals series.
Stanley Cup Finals History: The ‘Hawks were one of the punching bags of the Original Six, going sixteen years without winning a playoff series, so it’s small wonder their history isn’t as inflated as those of their cohorts (this is just their 12th appearance; only the Rangers are worse among O6 teams). In fact, since making five appearances in 13 years during the Hull-Mikita-Esposito era (1961-73), the ‘Hawks have only been back to the Finals twice in forty years. However, they did win a Stanley Cup just three years ago, snapping the second-longest Cup drought in NHL history (49 years, just shy of the Rangers’ 54). Recent victories are great deodorant in a results-oriented business.
The Bruins and the Flyers have always been grouped together because they like to cultivate reputations as tough teams, but they have another amusing thing in common: a lengthy history as Stanley Cup bridesmaids. The Bruins have won just six of their eighteen Cup Finals over nearly ninety years, while the Flyers have won two of eight in forty-odd years. Like the ‘Hawks, though, the Bruins do have a recent Cup: the one after Chicago’s, in fact, erasing a similarly-long drought (39 years). Also, this is the second-last Original Six matchup that had yet to happen in the Finals; the last will be New York-Chicago. Hardly surprising, really: the Rangers, Hawks, and Bruins, in order, had the worst fortunes of the O6 era.
Season Series: You’re shitting me, right?
Doogie Says: I am sorely tempted to borrow from Matt and take one of my laundry quarters and flip that thing because fuck, I dunno. I can’t go to my usual bit and lean on the fancystats because the teams played in two different leagues this year, so I just kind of have to eyeball it. Bruins have the better goalie and #1 D; Chicago has the better rest-of-the-D-corps and the forwards are kind of a wash. Chicago had greater regular-season success in the better league, Rask is outperforming his career numbers slightly more than Corey Crawford…eh, let’s say the coin landed on the head and not the wild animal. ‘Hawks in seven, though if it goes the other way I will not be shocked in the slightest.
Gerard Says: This really could go either way. On the one hand, Rask is really good. On the other, so is Chicago’s offense. Sure, Quick let in a couple of softies, but who doesn’t? This series is going to come down to Rask, I think. Hawks in 6.
Matt Says: I’ve been thinking on this in my free time here, and I don’t think I’ve come to a solid conclusion yet. I’m happy with either team taking it. If I flip a coin, it’s likely to land on its edge [Ed: Well, shit, there goes that idea.]. I do agree with Gerard when he says it’s going to come down to Rask. But, and I hope I’m right, it’s going to go the other way because of him. Bears in 6. [Ed: Who?]