Teams survive near death to make Finals

Teams survive near death to make Finals
June 9, 2013, 2:30 pm
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(Associated Press)

BOSTON – One thing that both the Bruins and the Blackhawks have in common as both teams prepare for the Stanley Cup Finals? Both have stared down the barrel of the gun at elimination once already in these current playoffs and lived to tell about it.

The Bruins famously came back from a 4-1 third period deficit in Game 7 to survive the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period, and Chicago made it back from being down 3-1 in the second round series against a very good Detroit Red Wings squad.

Since that near-death experience, the Bruins have won 9-of-10 games and outscored their opponents by a 32-12 margin, rolling through the Rangers and Penguins on the way to the Cup Finals.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have won seven of their last eight since being down to the Winged Wheels and have outscored their opponents 24-16 over that time period.

“You’ve got two teams that can look at it that way,” said Claude Julien. “We can look at that Game 7, and Chicago can look at the fact they were down 3-1 to Detroit, and came back and won three straight. Every team that makes it this far can look back at a turning point where it kind of just gave them that extra jolt they needed.

“That was the case for us this year, where it was a close call, and we could’ve been watching from afar for two rounds already. But instead we’re where we want to be.”

Instead both the Bruins and the Blackhawks are the final hockey teams standing, and the Maple Leafs and Red Wings are left to scratch their heads and wonder what might have been.

When either the Bruins or the Blackhawks take the series, it will be that team's second Cup championship within the last four years -- a quick turnaround from near-death to being discussed as a dynasty.