In a time of American sports driven by football, basketball, and soon to be soccer, hockey has slowly become less and less of a spectator sport. A true shame that one of the most technical and truly difficult sports on the planet has taken a backseat to large men hitting each other – this year’s Stanley Cup Finals may have a chance to rejuvenate the hockey fan base.
This year’s Stanley Cup Finals includes the well-known Chicago Blackhawks and the young Tampa Bay Lighting. The Blackhawks have dominated the hockey scene for the past five or so years, becoming a known name to even those who do not watch the sport. Lead by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks have a 12-5 record this post-season, but only outscoring opponents by six goals. This team knows how to win the close ones, but when things get out of hand there is little hope in salvaging it. At second in the League for goals against, the defensive approach for this seasoned team may just be enough to bring home another Stanley Cup.
On the other side, we have the Tampa Bay Lighting. A team with a long layoff of success led by Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson, the Lighting are looking for their first Stanley Cup since 2004. A completely different approach from the Blackhawks, the Lighting led the NHL in scoring this season with over three goals per game. However, their 12-8 record this postseason can make you wonder how put-together this team really is. Although the Lighting outscored their opponents by six goals as did the Blackhawks, the Lightning’s seemed to be more impressive with six games of at least five goals. Facing a defensive approach will be difficult, but the talented Lighting certainly have a shot to once again hoist the Stanley Cup Trophy.
*Picture belongs to the Tampa Bay Times