Another round, another member of the Original Six.
Every round, the Lighting has had to face one of the oldest franchises in the history of the NHL. Detroit. Then Montreal. Then New York. And now Chicago.
The Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals Saturday night when they beat the Anaheim Ducks, 5-3, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Jonathan Toews scored twice for the Hawks. Goalie Corey Crawford had 35 saves. Martin Hossa had a goal.
Chicago took a 4-0 lead and coasted to its third Western Conference title in six seasons.
From the outside, this appears as if it will be a rough-and-tumble series just as the first three have been. Chicago won the first meeting between the teams, 3-2 in a shootout, back on November 11. The Lightning won the rematch 4-0 on February 27, as Steven Stamkos scored twice and Ben Bishop stopped all 28 Chicago shots.
Another way to look at this matchup. Hall of Famer Phil Esposito founded the Lightning and played his first four seasons with Chicago. His brother Tony was a Hall of Fame goaltender for Chicago.
The series begins Wednesday night in Tampa. Saturday night’s Game 2 is also scheduled for Tampa.