After a grueling 82 game season, surviving through 18 playoff games, there is only two teams left that will ..."/> After a grueling 82 game season, surviving through 18 playoff games, there is only two teams left that will ..."/>

SenShot’s Stanley Cup Final Preview

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After a grueling 82 game season, surviving through 18 playoff games, there is only two teams left that will get a chance to raise Lord Stanley.

Predicted by many to be this year’s Stanley Cup match-up, Vancouver was the best team in the league during the regular season capped off with them winning the Presidents trophy. The Bruins are an original six team that have been on the cusp of joining the elite teams in the NHL for a few years now. Let’s take a look at how these two teams match-up.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

VS

BOSTON BRUINS

STANLEY CUP FINALS

Vancouver’s journey to the Finals did not start off pretty. With a huge battle against their arch rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Canucks almost committed the biggest collapse in playoff hockey history. But they were able to exercise their demons and finally beat the Hawks after failing twice before.

The Canucks continued their shaky playoffs as they could not close out their series against the Nashville Predators when they had their chance. Even though they won the series in six games, Van-city still has many holes such as goal tending and scoring. The Canucks got through the series as Ryan Kesler returned to his offensive ways and got a total of 11 points in the series and carried the team to the conference finals.

The Western Conference Finals saw two teams that could never live up to expectations square off. Disposing of the San Jose Sharks in five games, the Canucks finally found their game. They were able to cycle the puck and contain the big offensive weapons of the Sharks. With the win, the Canucks got a huge monkey off their back as they were able to finally break through after years of disappointing playoff defeats.

Boston came into the playoffs this year as a heavy favorite to come out of the East. With the Montreal Canadiens giving them a scare in the first round as they pushed them to the edge in seven games, Boston looked to avenge their embarrassing loss in last year’s playoffs to the Philadelphia Flyers when they blew a 3-0 series lead and lost four straight games to get knocked out of the playoffs. With the Bruins being better matched against the physical Flyers squad, Boston took advantage of a Philly’s poor goal tending and Chris Pronger‘s absence to oust the the Flyers.

After sweeping the Flyers, the B’s had a showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. With shaky performances by both teams, the Bruins were able to squeak out a 1-0 win in game seven to advance to the Finals. With many great players on their roster with trophies to back up their play, Boston just was never able to put it all together in the playoffs.

This is the first appearance for Vancouver since their Finals in 1994 against the Rangers. With this being their 40th anniversary year of their franchise, Vancouver is Canada’s hope to end the 18 year drought of the Cup going south of the border. Boston will look to end their 39 year Cup drought and avoid the fate of tying for the most consecutives Stanley Cup Final loses record with Philly. For one of these teams, the Cup will represent them growing into an elite team in the league. For the other, it will be a disappointing loss that will leave many questions.

Tony’s Thoughts: I think this series matches-up the old way hockey with the new way. On one hand, you have the very physical and defensive minded Bruins, and on the other hand, you have the very skilled and mobile team in the Canucks. I think the Canucks have gotten stronger as the playoffs have gone on, where as the Bruins have been a Jekyl and Hyde team.

I think this series will be decided by one player on each team and the ability of the other team to beat the other player. For the Bruins, their chances rest on the shoulders of Tim Thomas as he will need to summon his inner Hasek to win the Cup. For the Canucks, Ryan Kesler needs to continue to be a dominant force and take his game to another level. This is where legends are made and Thomas and Kesler are on the cusp of greatness. I feel the Cup will finally come home as the Nucks will make a nation proud.

Jared’s Thoughts: This is an interesting matchup with two teams that were dominant at different times in the playoffs and sub-par at others.  However, when the chips were down, both obviously got the job done.  Both top lines got off to a slow start in the playoffs but have heated up lately.  Both teams should be rested and as injury free as you can be at this point in the season.

When it comes right down to it, Vancouver and Boston are deep teams, and despite the fact that many predictions I have seen so far have Vancouver in a relatively short series, I think this one will go at least 6 and most likely 7 games, with the Canucks pulling out a very even series, to bring the Stanley Cup home to Canada for the first time since 1993.

Derrick’s Thoughts: If the performances of Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins as a whole against the Canucks in the last three regular season meeting are any indication, this series should be a laugher. In those meetings the Bruins are 3-0 and Thomas has a 0.33 GAA and two shutouts. In reality, of course, these numbers don’t mean a hill of beans. Both teams are playing well and had to get through some tough competition to get to this position. The Canucks employ more of a speed game than the Bruins who are more, counter-attack and rely-on-the-Vezina-calibre-goaltender oriented. The health and impact of ability of certain players (Ryan Kesler) could be the difference. Except this series to be a long one.

Here is the schedule for the Stanley Cup Finals:

GameDateMatchup
1Wednesday June 1, 8pm etBoston at Vancouver
2Saturday June 4, 8pm etBoston at Vancouver
3Monday June 6, 8pm etVancouver at Boston
4Wednesday June 8, 8pm etVancouver at Boston
5*Friday June 10, 8pm etBoston at Vancouver
6*Monday June 13, 8pm etVancouver at Boston
7*Wednesday June 15, 8pm etBoston at Vancouver
Stanley Cup Championship

Now that you know our thoughts, let us know yours. Will the Cup return to Canada for the first time in 18 years? Or will the Bruins end their 39 year Cup drought?

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Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.

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