TAMPA -- The Chicago Blackhawks have staked claim to the title of best franchise in the salary-cap era, but four more wins in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs will put them in some exclusive company.
Chicago faces the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, which begins Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). If the Blackhawks prevail, it will be their third championship in six seasons.
Five franchises have accomplished that in NHL history. The Detroit Red Wings were the most recent, winning in 1997, 1998 and 2002. The Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders did so in the 1980s. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs are the other teams to win the Cup three times in a six-season span.
Chicago nearly had a chance to win three times in five years, but it lost Game 7 in overtime to the Los Angeles Kings in the 2014 Western Conference Final and then had to watch the Kings dispatch the New York Rangers in a five-game Cup Final.
The Lightning should be a more formidable opponent. The Blackhawks should still be the favorite. Here are five reasons: