TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks haven't played each other since Feb. 27, the second game Chicago played after Patrick Kane sustained a fractured clavicle that put him out for the rest of the regular season. The Lightning won 4-0. It means nothing now.
So much is different for the Lightning and Blackhawks heading into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). For starters, Kane is back in Chicago's lineup and has 20 points in 17 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Tampa Bay has played 20 out of a possible 21 games to reach the Cup Final for the first time since 2004, when current Blackhawks center Brad Richards won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a member of the Lightning.
Chicago played 17 games to get to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in six seasons.
Undoubtedly we'll know a lot more about what type of Cup Final we're in once a game is finally played. Heading into it, because there is not a lot of familiarity between the teams, it's still a mystery of what to truly expect, even though many pundits have their own ideas.
So instead of having keys for each team heading into Game 1, we have questions, as in three for the Blackhawks and three for the Lightning. Here they are: