When the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning open the 2015 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), it won't take long before you recognize how similar these two teams are. They each feature a skilled group of deep forwards, a strong, mobile defense and two solid goalies who have had some bumps in the road, but have been there for their teams when needed.
Given how balanced Chicago and Tampa Bay are, it's a bit tricky to know what we're going to see. Will we see 60 minutes of fire wagon hockey with end-to-end rushes or will the defenses each focus on locking down the opposition's top line and keep the score low? Either style of play is possible, but I think the speed the Blackhawks and Lightning each have will win out.
We're going to see tons of scoring opportunities. Each of these teams is good defensively, but it's very tough not to give up chances when you're facing top-line talent like Steven Stamkos and Patrick Kane. That doesn't mean we're going to see seven 6-5 games, but I think the opportunities to put the puck in the net will be there. Strong goaltending or collapsing, shot-blocking defense might keep the score low, but the action at the net will be there. It will be fantastic to watch.