VANCOUVER VS. BOSTON
I can’t remember a Finals match-up this even since 10 years ago when the #1 Avalanche faced off against the #2 and defending Cup champion Devils.
Both sides match up well against each other, and where one team has a deficiency, some other aspect of the club makes up the difference.
For the Bruins, that is the constant liability of the power play. However, their near-perfect 5-on-5 play and penalty killing covers up that issue.
For the Canucks, that’s their seeming lack of consistency through 60 minutes. However, four balanced lines and Roberto Luongo playing the best hockey of his career erases those lapses.
Both teams possess power, speed, good defense and top-flight goaltenders. It may come down to whoever blinks last — and that’s the recipe for good action in every game.
One match-up I will be looking at, is whether the Sedin twins will have room to operate against any line Claude Julien throws at them. If they can use their speed, skill and brotherly telepathy, it may be a bumpy ride for Bruins defenders.
On the opposite side, can anybody on the Canucks adequately control the Lucic-Krejci combo or Horton-Campbell? A high level of physical play from the likes of Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, Raffi Torres and others might…might do the trick.
All in all, unless something drastic like mental collapse or a major injury to any principal factor on either club, the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals can, like Ray Kinsella, go the distance.
While Boston, and Bruins fans, realllly deserve another title for no other reason than to advance their hero worship beyond Bobby Orr, I’m going with the Canadian contingent to win by a nose. Canucks in 7
Tim Thomas will steal a game and the Bruins defense will play strong throughout, but the Canucks have too much depth and the Sedins are too much. Also, Luongo should be able to steal one himself. Canucks in 6
So the Bruins are completely destroying my bracket, but no longer. The hardest thing about picking a winner for this round is deciding if the Canucks will beat the Bruins in 5 games or 6. I will give the Bruins the benefit of the doubt and say Canucks in 6. Congratulations! Enjoy playing in the Final for the next 3 weeks.
Vancouver is deeper, more talented, better coached, and have more to lose by not winning this year. If they lose more than one game I’ll be surprised, more than two, shocked. Canucks in 5
Vancouver was pretty much the better team in every regard in the regular season. They had the better goal scoring, goal prevention, shot differential, and special teams. They were also playing in a tougher conference than the Bruins. This is Vancouver’s series to lose. Canucks in 6.
Alex Burrows once said the Sedin twins “communicate like dolphins.” I don’t care how evenly matched these two teams are on paper, you just can’t compete with that. Canucks in 6