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Five reasons Lightning can win Stanley Cup

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 12:06 PM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Dan Rosen - Senior Writer

The Tampa Bay Lightning have already made history in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs by becoming the first team to defeat three Original Six teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Four more wins and they'll break that record.

The Lightning defeated the Detroit Red Wings in seven games, the Montreal Canadiens in six, and the New York Rangers in seven to earn their chance to compete against the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup. They even have home-ice advantage.

Game 1 is Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

In defeating the Canadiens, the Lightning knocked off a team that lost the Eastern Conference Final last season. In defeating the Rangers, they dethroned last year's Eastern Conference champs (New York defeated Montreal in six games in the 2014 conference final).

If the Lightning are to win the Stanley Cup, they'll have to defeat a team that closest represents a modern-day dynasty. The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice and have made four trips, including three in a row, to the Western Conference Final since 2010.

It'll be challenging, no doubt, but the Lightning certainly have the wherewithal to defeat the Blackhawks four times in two weeks. Here are five reasons:

Goaltender Matchup: Inside Blackhawks' Crawford

Monday, 06.01.2015 / 11:28 AM / Lightning vs Blackhawks - 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Kevin Woodley - Correspondent

Goaltending plays an integral part in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so broke down the Stanley Cup Final battle between Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Today the focus is on Crawford.

Much like many goaltending coaches do before a series, correspondent Kevin Woodley, the managing editor of InGoal Magazine, charted every goal scored with the help of a program from Double Blue Sport Analytics. Regular-season goals were recorded in their original Save Review System, and playoff goals, including how they were scored, were tracked in the soon-to-launch SRS 2.0. The graphics showing where goals went in and shots were taken from are nice, but the real value is analyzing the plays that led to them and whether they reveal strengths, weaknesses and tendencies that can be targeted.

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Quote of the Day

Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.

— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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