Three former Chicago Blackhawks players will face off against each other in the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
Forward Phillip Danault and defenseman Erik Gustafsson of the Montreal Canadiens will compete against defenseman Jan Rutta and the reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The trio also previously played for the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate.
Forwards Michael Frolik and Laurent Dauphin are skating as extras with Montreal. Frolik played from 2011 to 2013 with the Blackhawks, highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2013. Dauphin played in 33 games with Rockford during the 2017-18 season, but never played for Chicago. Frolik played in eight games this season for Montreal, while Dauphin stayed in the AHL with the Laval Rocket.
Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin also held several front office roles in the Blackhawks organization before leaving for Montreal in 2012. The former defenseman was a scout (2005-08), assistant coach (’08-09), director of player personnel (’09-11) and assistant general manager (’11-12) in Chicago.
Danault has three assists in 17 playoff games, including the primary assist on Artturi Lehkonen’s semifinal series-clinching goal in overtime of Game Six against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Gustafsson, who was acquired by Montreal at the trade deadline from the Philadelphia Flyers, has three points (one goal, two assists) in 13 playoff games.
Rutta left Game Five of the semifinal series against the New York Islanders with an upper-body injury, but returned to play the final two games of the series. The 2020 Cup champion scored the game-winning goal in Game Two against the Islanders for his lone point of his 18-game playoff run this year.
The Canadiens are in the Cup Final for the first time since winning the title in 1993, the last time a team from Canada won the Cup. The Lightning will look to become the second team in the salary-cap era to defend their title, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins (2016, 2017).