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Blackhawks face Lightning in Stanley Cup Final

Between the Blackhawks' veteran poise and the Lightning's young stars, the Stanley Cup Final will have no shortage of dynamic offensive talent playing on hockey's biggest stage.

Chicago will continue its quest for a third NHL championship in six seasons when it visits Amalie Arena on Wednesday to face Tampa Bay, which is going for the second Stanley Cup title in franchise history after streaking through the Eastern Conference bracket with a series of gutsy victories.

Both teams reached the final round in dramatic fashion, winning Game 7 on the road in the conference finals. Both are surging with confidence after putting away the Ducks and the Rangers, who finished with their conferences' best regular-season records.

And both the Blackhawks and the Lightning know how to entertain.

Here are some more reasons to watch these franchises' first postseason meeting:

Original Six: The Lightning is the first team in NHL history to play four Original Six teams in the same postseason, staring down the history and tradition that comes with facing off against the oldest teams in hockey. Tampa Bay knocked off Detroit, Montreal and the Rangers, and the Lightning youngsters didn't flinch when they had to play Game 7 at Madison Square Garden.

Experience counts: The Lightning had only one playoff appearance in the previous three years before this spring, so this still is new to most of them. The Blackhawks have been among the NHL's top teams for seven seasons now, making five conference finals and winning three of them.

Speed and endurance: "I think the thing that stands out to me is their team speed and their skill level up front," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said of Tampa Bay. Keith knows how to handle speed after playing extraordinary minutes in the Blackhawks' seven-game victory over the fleet-footed Ducks.

Richards' return: Chicago's Brad Richards was a third-round pick by the Lightning in 1998, and the forward was a fixture in the Tampa Bay lineup from 2000 until 2008. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2004 while leading Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup, scoring 26 points in 23 playoff games.

Goalie challenge: Corey Crawford backstopped Chicago to the 2013 Stanley Cup but got pulled from the lineup during the first round of this postseason. Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop already has played 20 games in the postseason. His last five against the Rangers either were shutouts (two at MSG) or five-goal disappointments (three).


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