NHL Expert Picks: 2015 Stanley Cup Final selections

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May 31, 2015 8:56 AM ET

Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks go for another Stanley Cup championship. (USATSI)
Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks go for another Stanley Cup championship. (USATSI)

And then there were two.

After three rounds, the 2015 Stanley Cup Final is finally set with the Chicago Blackhawks facing off against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blackhawks are trying to win their third Stanley Cup in the past six seasons while the Lightning look to win the second cup in franchise history and the first since defeating the Calgary Flames back in 2004.

NHL writers Chris Peters and Adam Gretz make their selections for who will be lifting the Cup, and then share their explanations for why they made their pick.

*The entire schedule for the Stanley Cup Final is here.

NHL Playoff Expert PicksSeriesAdam Gretz
@AGretzChris Peters
@ChrisMPetersStanley Cup Final

(2) Tampa Bay Lightning

(3) Chicago Blackhawks


7 games
6 games

Chris Peters

Pick: Blackhawks in six

The Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning is going to be excellent. You have two teams that play a very similar style, with exciting players up and down the lineup and speed throughout. The Blackhawks very well could be looking at a team at a similar stage as where Chicago was about seven years ago.

Both teams are well built, with the most important players drafted or discovered by the organization, and sensible additions made to insulate their mostly homegrown cores. Where there is a disparity, however, is in experience. It would only be moderately notable if the Blackhawks didn’t have so much.

Chicago will play for its third Stanley Cup title in six seasons. They have made it as far as the conference finals in five out of the past seven years. They have played a lot of hockey in the playoffs and they’ve won a whole heck of a lot more than they’ve lost. Tampa, meanwhile, has no players remaining from its 2004 Stanley Cup run — the Conn Smythe winner that year, Brad Richards, is on the other side this time — and only three from the team that reached the Eastern Conference finals in 2011. There’s a whole lot of newbies here.

The Blackhawks defense might get worn down, but we said that a lot during the Western Conference finals and it never really happened. The Lightning could have some games where they score a lot of goals or at least threaten to. Tampa seems to have the advantage in net, and it has a style that is going to put a lot of pressure on Chicago. But it still comes back to experience.

If the Blackhawks hadn’t been here so often before, the on-paper matchup would favor the Lightning to a slight degree. However, after the series the Blackhawks just experienced against the Ducks, they’re near unbeatable once they figure an opponent out.

This one is so close, but I’m going with the Blackhawks in six.

Adam Gretz

Pick: Blackhawks in seven

This is a tough one and I could really go either way on which team I see winning it. It’s basically a coin flip at this point given the two rosters.

On one hand, I still worry about the Blackhawks’ defense wearing down given the minutes their top four are playing, especially when it comes to Duncan Keith. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t. Especially against a team like Tampa Bay that has a bunch of guys who can fly around the ice.

This is a different challenge than what Anaheim presented in the Western Conference finals. Instead of a big, bruising, physical team that is going to try and wear the Blackhawks down, the Lightning forwards are, for the most part, smaller, faster players who can use their speed as well as any other team in the league.

On the other hand, I could just as easily see the Blackhawks doing to the Lightning what the Detroit Red Wings did to the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2008. A veteran team with some championship experience going up against the new kids on the block and overwhelming early in the series and putting them in an early hole that is just too much to overcome. I also hate the idea of picking against this Blackhawks team this late in the playoffs because, well, that almost always ends poorly.

In the end, given the potential matchups that were out there this was probably the best possible one for hockey fans that want to see fast-paced, skillful hockey. The star power in this series is going to be incredible with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith, Steven Stamkos, The Triplets and Victor Hedman going up against each other.

It should be a long, exciting series but in the end, I think the Blackhawks end up winning it in seven.

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Round 4 (CBS) | Leaderboard “,”synopsis”:”Byron Nelson: Round 4″,”photo”:{“width”:”231″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25201041″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/golf/img25201041.jpg”,”height”:”130″},”href”:”http://pgatour.cbssports.com/live/”,”title”:”Live: Byron Nelson final round”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://pgatour.cbssports.com/live/”,”content”:”Watch LIVE: Byron Nelson, final round”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/leaderboard/pga-tour/397177/att-byron-nelson”,”content”:”Follow: Byron Nelson leaderboard, scorecards”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/eye-on-golf/25201016/johnny-manziel-threw-a-water-bottle-at-a-fan-at-the-byron-nelson”,”content”:”Agent: Manziel harrassed by fan at B. Nelson”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/story/25201019/kjeldsen-pulls-out-irish-open-victory-in-playoff-after-final-round-76″,”content”:”Kjeldsen wins Irish Open playoff after collapse”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/eye-on-golf/25200481/rickie-fowler-experiences-highs-and-lows-of-royal-county-down”,”content”:”Fowler flops late in third round of Irish Open”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/story/25200632/morgan-pressel-keeps-lead-in-shoprite-lpga-classic”,”content”:”Pressel keeps lead in ShopRite LPGA Classic”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/eye-on-golf/25199632/rory-mcilroy-misses-cut-at-home-country-irish-open”,”content”:”McIlroy misses third straight cut at Irish Open”}]},”nfl”:{“minicover”:{“body”:”

Breech: The 49ers, Dolphins, Raiders and Seahawks will travel more than 25,000 miles in 2015. The Eagles? Just 6,818. We chart the numbers for all 32 teams. Story “,”synopsis”:”Travel miles for NFL teams”,”photo”:{“width”:”231″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25198513″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/football/nfl/img25198513.jpg”,”height”:”130″},”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25198350/nfl-schedule-49ers-travel-most-miles-eagles-the-fewest”,”title”:”NFL’s frequent fliers”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25200967/report-johnny-manziel-a-fish-out-of-water-browns-could-be-moving-on”,”content”:”Report: Browns set to move on from Manziel?”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/golf/eye-on-golf/25201016/johnny-manziel-threw-a-water-bottle-at-a-fan-at-the-byron-nelson”,”content”:”Agent: Manziel harrassed by fan at golf event”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25200926/ex-packers-coach-mike-sherman-coaching-massachusetts-high-school-team”,”content”:”Mike Sherman goes from NFL to MA high school”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25200234/tom-brady-skips-media-session-at-best-buddies-charity-event”,”content”:”Brady dodges media session at charity event”},{“href”:”http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/update/25200248/jets-rework-wr-brandon-marshalls-contract”,”content”:”Report: Jets’ Marshall gets raise in new deal”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25200927/michael-bennett-skips-otas-wants-new-deal-in-realm-of-similar-players”,”content”:”Seahawks’ Bennett staying away from OTAs”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/25200330/matt-barkley-on-tim-tebow-hes-not-taking-my-reps”,”content”:”Barkley on Tebow: ‘He’s not taking my reps'”}]},”college football”:{“minicover”:{“body”:” Fornelli: Among top 2015 dark horses, Arkansas rides big-time momentum and Texas has the D to compete with Big 12 leaders. In the ACC, Louisville could fill a void. Story “,”synopsis”:”CFB dark horses”,”photo”:{“width”:”231″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25200247″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/football/college/img25200247.jpg”,”height”:”130″},”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25199485/friday-five-conference-title-sleepers”,”title”:”Conference title sleepers”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25200396/top-ncaa-board-member-doesnt-want-obannon-appealed-to-supreme-court-“,”content”:”NCAA chairman: Turn page on O’Bannon case”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25199545/sec-meetings-wrap-new-rule-prevents-transfers-with-serious-misconduct”,”content”:”SEC adds conduct policy to restrict transfers”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25199689/notre-dame-cb-keivarae-russell-says-on-instagram-hes-back-with-team”,”content”:”Irish corner Russell says he’s back with team”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25199127/sec-coaches-are-increasingly-skeptical-of-cost-of-attendance-figures”,”content”:”SEC coaches skeptical over cost of attendance”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25199144/report-sec-to-distribute-31-million-in-revenue-per-school”,”content”:”SEC to distribute $31M in revenue per school?”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25199271/florida-state-qb-john-franklin-to-transfer”,”content”:”FSU QB Franklin to transfer, HS coach says”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/eye-on-college-football/25199617/report-ex-buckeye-noah-spence-charged-with-public-intoxication-at-eku”,”content”:”Report: Ex-Buckeye charged with intoxication”}]},”mlb”:{“minicover”:{“body”:” The Reds break the game wide open in the seventh inning, batting around and plating six runs against the Washington bullpen. Follow LIVE: CIN 8, WAS 2 (7th) “,”synopsis”:”LIVE: Nats-Reds”,”photo”:{“width”:”231″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25201029″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/baseball/mlb/img25201029.jpg”,”height”:”130″},”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/live/MLB_20150531_WAS@CIN”,”title”:”Live: Reds retake lead”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/live/MLB_20150531_WAS@CIN”,”content”:”Follow LIVE: Nationals at Reds”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/25200914/eye-on-mlb-may-31-live-updates-on-news-game-action”,”content”:”Live blog: Following the best of Sunday’s action”},{“href”:”http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybaseball/update/25200964/report-cubs-to-target-as-2b-ben-zobrist-before-trade-deadline”,”content”:”Report: Cubs may target A’s Zobrist for trade”},{“href”:”http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybaseball/update/25200909/reds-p-johnny-cueto-expected-to-start-tuesday-against-phillies”,”content”:”Reds’ Price: Cueto should start Tue. vs. Phils”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/25200306/jerry-dior-designer-of-mlb-logo-passes-away-at-82″,”content”:”Jerry Dior, MLB logo designer, dies at age 82″},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/25200339/u-of-tokyo-wins-for-first-time-since-2010-snaps-94-game-losing-streak”,”content”:”U of Tokyo wins, snaps 94-game losing streak”}]},”nhl”:{“minicover”:{“body”:” This Stanley Cup Final promises intrigue. These Lightning are new to this stage, while the Blackhawks know their way around. That experience may be the difference. Expert Picks “,”synopsis”:”Stanley Cup expert picks”,”photo”:{“width”:”650″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25200908″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/hockey/img25200908.jpg”,”height”:”360″},”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25200861/nhl-expert-picks-2015-stanley-cup-final-selections”,”title”:”Expert Picks: Who wins Cup?”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25200752/another-game-7-disappointment-for-ducks-coach-bruce-boudreau”,”content”:”Gretz: More disappointment for Ducks, Boudreau”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25200714/blackhawks-eliminate-ducks-what-you-need-to-know-about-game-7″,”content”:”Blackhawks win Game 7, advance to Cup Final”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25201020/marian-hossa-will-play-in-his-5th-stanley-cup-final-in-8-years”,”content”:”Hossa plays for Cup for 5th time in 8 seasons”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25200921/the-tampa-bay-lightning-and-their-playoff-journey-through-the-original-six”,”content”:”Lightning travel through Original Six to Final”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25200985/stanley-cup-final-threatens-garth-brooks-tour-date-in-tampa”,”content”:”Game 2 in Tampa threatens Garth Brooks date”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25199919/rangers-d-ryan-mcdonagh-played-on-broken-foot”,”content”:”Rangers’ McDonagh played with broken foot”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25198493/sabres-hire-dan-bylsma-as-new-head-coach”,”content”:”Sabres name Bylsma coach, to comp Penguins”}]},”extras”:{“collegefootball”:{“links”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/writers/dennis-dodd”,”content”:”Dennis Dodd”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/writers/jon-solomon”,”content”:”Jon 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Draft”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/rankings/top25″,”content”:”Top 25 (And One)”},{“href”:”http://247sports.com/Page/Basketball-Recruiting-News-and-Message-Boards-100135?referer=CBSSPORTS”,”content”:”247 Sports”}]},”tennis”:{“links”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/tennis/history”,”content”:”Grand Slam History”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/tennis/usopen/schedule”,”content”:”U.S. Open TV Schedule”}]},”nba”:{“links”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball”,”content”:”Eye on Basketball”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/writers/ken-berger”,”content”:”Ken Berger”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/powerrankings”,”content”:”Power Rankings”}]},”worldcup”:{“links”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/world-cup/eye-on-world-cup”,”content”:”Eye on World Cup”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/topic/303439/united-states?tag_text=United%20States”,”content”:”Team USA Coverage”}]},”autoracing”:{“links”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nascar/chase”,”content”:”Chase”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nascar/blog/eye-on-nascar”,”content”:”Eye on NASCAR”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nascar/photos”,”content”:”Photos”}]}},”config”:{“omni_event”:”More”,”brackets”:{“omni_event”:”Brackets”,”cover”:0,”domEl”:”brackets”,”active”:0,”headlines”:0},”olympics”:{“omni_event”:”Olympics”,”cover”:1,”domEl”:”olympics”,”active”:1,”headlines”:1},”mlb”:{“omni_event”:”MLB”,”cover”:1,”domEl”:”mlb”,”active”:1,”headlines”:1},”maxpreps”:{“omni_event”:”HighSchool”,”cover”:1,”domEl”:”highschool”,”active”:1,”headlines”:1},”tennis”:{“omni_event”:”Tennis”,”cover”:1,”domEl”:”tennis”,”active”:1,”headlines”:1},”college 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sports”:{“cover”:0,”domEl”:”more”,”active”:1,”headlines”:0}},”tennis”:{“minicover”:{“body”:null,”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/general/eye-on-sports/24695919/us-open-caroline-wozniacki-moves-into-final-as-peng-shuai-retires”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/general/eye-on-sports/24695919/us-open-caroline-wozniacki-moves-into-final-as-peng-shuai-retires”,”content”:”Latest news”}]},”maxpreps”:{“minicover”:{“body”:”See the Top 10 Class of 2015 outfielders for the MLB Draft, including College Station’s Ryan Johnson.”,”synopsis”:”See the Top 10 Class of 2015 outfielders for the MLB Draft, including College Station’s Ryan Johnson.”,”photo”:{“href”:”http://images.maxpreps.com/includes/images/cbssportsmenu/130774149498727053.jpg”},”href”:”http://t.maxpreps.com/1cmLPyY”,”title”:”Outstanding outfielders”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.maxpreps.com/news/DuvamJfRH0qgdQDieNEz3A/top-5-high-school-catchers-for-2015-mlb-draft.htm”,”content”:”Top 5 catchers for MLB Draft”},{“href”:”http://www.maxpreps.com/news/6x8HmSxS5kOTvHcVoT0WJQ/tim-tebow-act-likely-to-pass-in-alabama,-allowing-home-schooled-athletes-to-play-on-high-school-teams.htm”,”content”:”Tim Tebow Act likely to pass in Alabama”},{“href”:”http://www.maxpreps.com/news/uF-MZoWSakq3d9yVZoTmng/top-10-high-school-outfielders-for-the-2015-mlb-draft.htm”,”content”:”Top 10 outfielders for MLB Draft”},{“href”:”http://www.maxpreps.com/news/nOZLt0zEdUe0Oe77CXHKPg/high-school-football-players-grant-teammate-final-wish.htm”,”content”:”Players grant teammate final wish”},{“href”:”http://www.maxpreps.com/news/4lpxLrIQEEWlCrVnrfnZEg/maxpreps-top-25-national-high-school-softball-rankings-.htm”,”content”:”Xcellent 25 Softball Rankings”},{“href”:”http://www.maxpreps.com/news/yX30eu3eEESN0HuxKh2fIw/maxpreps-regional-baseball-computer-rankings-.htm”,”content”:”Regional baseball computer rankings”}]},”nba”:{“minicover”:{“body”:” Harper: Despite zero NBA Finals experience, the Warriors look unstoppable at times. They face LeBron James and his extensive Finals resume. Something has to give. Story “,”synopsis”:”NBA Finals: Cavs vs. Warriors”,”photo”:{“width”:”231″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25200992″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/basketball/nba/img25200992.jpg”,”height”:”130″},”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25200901/nba-finals-do-the-cavs-win-experience-factor-vs-the-warriors”,”title”:”Does Finals experience count?”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybasketball/update/25201043/kevin-love-expects-to-be-back-with-the-cavaliers-next-season”,”content”:”Love expecting to return to Cavs next season”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25200913/andrew-bogut-tried-to-get-the-warriors-to-sign-matthew-dellavedova”,”content”:”Bogut wanted Warriors to sign Dellavedova”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25200922/report-knicks-enamored-with-trey-lyles-could-draft-him-4th-overall”,”content”:”Knicks really like Lyles; could he go at No. 4?”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25200893/report-alvin-gentry-showed-pelicans-that-anthony-davis-was-underutilized”,”content”:”Report: Gentry showed Davis needs more use”},{“href”:”http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasybasketball/update/25200422/warriors-steve-kerr-on-thompson-all-is-going-well”,”content”:”Kerr: Klay’s concussion recovery going well”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25200315/doc-rivers-on-chris-paul-deandre-jordan-rumors-they-get-along-great”,”content”:”Doc Rivers says CP3, Jordan ‘get along great'”}]},”college basketball”:{“minicover”:{“body”:” Rothstein: Damian Jones has the potential to be an elite post player. And with Vandy’s offense set to go through the big man, Jones could break out. Observations “,”synopsis”:”Rothstein: Vandy Jones’ year?”,”photo”:{“width”:”231″,”seq_no”:”1″,”content_id”:”25199136″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/basketball/college/img25199136.jpg”,”height”:”130″},”href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25199095/observations-vandy-center-damian-jones-will-be-force-in-the-sec”,”title”:”Vandy’s Jones ready to erupt?”},”headlines”:[{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25200396/top-ncaa-board-member-doesnt-want-obannon-appealed-to-supreme-court-“,”content”:”NCAA chairman: Turn page on O’Bannon case”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25200631/missouri-transfer-jonathan-williams-commits-to-gonzaga”,”content”:”Missouri transfer Williams going to Gonzaga”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25198947/former-vandy-guard-dai-jon-parker-died-thursday-night-at-age-22″,”content”:”Former Vanderbilt guard Parker dead at 22″},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25199093/iowa-states-ad-already-working-in-anticipation-of-losing-fred-hoiberg”,”content”:”Iowa St. preparing itself in case Hoiberg bolts”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25199574/old-dominion-coach-jeff-jones-diagnosed-with-prostate-cancer”,”content”:”ODU coach diagnosed with prostate cancer”},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25198109/former-clemson-coach-bill-foster-dies-at-79″,”content”:”Former Clemson coach Bill Foster dies at 79″},{“href”:”http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25198409/study-acc-big-east-continue-to-be-the-top-power-conferences-in-apr”,”content”:”Study: ACC, Big East top power leagues in APR”}]},”fantasy news”:{“minicover”:{“body”:” Who’s No. 1 overall after the NFL Draft? How does the Brady mess affect Fantasy values? Jamey Eisenberg says this 12-team mock draft gives answers. Full Story “,”synopsis”:”12-team mock draft”,”photo”:{“width”:”320″,”seq_no”:”0″,”content_id”:”25185475″,”href”:”$IMAGE_SERVER/u/photos/fantasy/football/img25185475.jpg”,”height”:”180″},”href”:”http://fantasynews.cbssports.com/fantasyfootball/story/25184113/offseason-extra-post-nfl-draft-standard-mock”,”title”:”12-team mock draft”},”headlines”:[{“href”:null,”content”:null}]},”worldcup”:{“minicover”:{“body”:”

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Article source: http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/eye-on-hockey/25200861

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