Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Stanley Cup Finals - Bruins Vs Canucks

It's been 17 years. Hard to believe really. Back in 1994 I would never have imagined that the Canucks would not return to the Stanley Cup finals until 2011. Since game seven in 1994 - counting the regular season and playoffs - the Vancouver Canucks have won 654 games. Now all we need is four wins. 4 Wins.

This time around the Canucks are heavily favoured, most predicting the series to be over in 5. After 3 series Vancouver is as healthy as you could've possibly hoped. Unlike the past few years the defense core is intact and with the exception of Mikael Samuelson no key players are seriously injured. Despite being ruled out for game one, there is even a chance that Manny Malhotra could play in the this series. It's always said that to win the Stanley Cup you have to have a lot of luck along the way. The Canucks have enjoyed their fair share, let's hope it continues.

While the Canucks are favoured don't expect this series to be easy. Boston is going to pose a lot of the same problems that Nashville did. They're going to clog up the neutral zone and wait for mistakes. There's going to be a lot of tight checking and then there's Tim Thomas between the pipes. The Canucks have the edge in talent and depth, but there's a reason they play the games.

The Keys to the Stanley Cup

  1. The X-factor in this series is going to be the officiating. Are the Canucks going to get power play opportunities, or will the game be called like it sometimes was in the Nashville series or game 7 of the East Finals? The Canucks power play is lethal, while Boston's has been next to useless. If there are only 2 or 3 powerplays a game Boston has a much better chance.
  2. Luongo vs Thomas. Two Vezina finalists will be facing off for a much bigger prize. Thomas has been both brilliant and brutal this postseason. Luongo has been very solid and often great. Both have given up some weak ones and both have stood on their head. The key in this series will be making the big save at the key moment.
  3. The Canucks Defense. There are many reasons why the Canucks are in the Stanley Cup finals, but the biggest is the mobility and skill level on the blueline. When Vancouver has won it's because they have taken away the forecheck of their opposition. They've been excellent at standing up and forcing the opposition to dump the puck in - and when the puck is dumped in they get to it first. This is the biggest obstacle Boston has to overcome. Can Horton and Lucic get in on the forecheck quick enough to turn the puck over?
  4. The Battle for the Conn Smythe. Kesler or Henrik? That's been the debate during this long layoff. The Canucks just need one of them to have a great series.

To all Canucks fans. Enjoy this. You never know when this will come along again. Thanks for reading, commenting, tweeting and emailing over the years. This is as much a personal journal as it is a fan blog. While I don't know how much time I'll have for blogging during the Cup finals you can follow me on Twitter for my thoughts on the games.

4 Wins Baby!

We are all Canucks!