Jonathan Toews #19 (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Blackhawks at Lightning takes place tonight in Game One of the 2015 Stanley Cup final.
The game takes place at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida and is scheduled to start at 01:00 BST.
Chicago will be hoping that their post-season experience will give them the edge as the final series gets underway in midweek with the core of their team winning the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013, while Tampa Bay hasn’t made the final since 2004, when they won their only championship.
Ben Bishop #30 of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford have led the Blackhawks through three rounds in the Western Conference, which includes a 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the conference decider on Saturday.
Tampa Bay went 1-0-1 against Chicago during the regular season, and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is well aware that his team will have to be at their best to take command of the series.
“Watching their series against the Rangers, they have a lot of options with their skill, how dangerous they can be with putting pucks in the net,” Quenneville said.
Quenneville is the NHL’s winningest active coach and has overseen a meteoric ascent at the Hawks since 2008. Quenneville replaced Denis Savard, a Hall of Fame player and Blackhawks legend, four games into the 2008/09 season but hasn’t looked back with Two Stanley Cups, five conference finals appearances and nearly 400 victories since.
“The core has been through a lot of challenges and battles,” he added.
“They were still a very young group at the time. I was very fortunate to come here with a team that was sitting on go, and they keep going.”
The Lightning, meanwhile, have won three play-off rounds for the first time in a decade, but goalkeeper Ben Bishop knows there’s still much left to do.
“We still haven’t accomplished anything yet,” he said after their Game 7 win over the New York Rangers. “We’re four wins away. It’s going to be probably the hardest four wins of all of our careers. We know there’s a lot ahead of us.”
Bishop leads all goaltenders in this year’s playoffs with three shutouts, including 2-0 victories on the road in Games 5 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final against New York.