The final act of the 2014-15 NHL season begins this evening at Amalie Arena, the final seven games of an epic which will lead to the coronation of a new Stanley Cup Champion to reign over this league. Seven games at most will lead to Commissioner Gary Bettman bellowing for a team captain to come get his Stanley Cup.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks go back to what they're employed to do - play hockey - tonight after Tuesday's media-day and the post-Conference Finals games of late last week. While both clubs may very well be rested, there's no reason to think they're relaxed. They are, after all, about to play for the gloyy of the Stanley Cup.
The Blackhawks took advantage of the Lightning's ill-considered decision to go into a defensive shell in the third period to score two late goals and take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final 2-1 in Tampa Wednesday night.
For the second time in franchise history, the Lightning play in the Stanley Cup Finals. They contend against misperceptions as well as their fourth Original Six opponent of the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks.