This year the battle-tested Boston Bruins will face the perennial underachieving Vancouver Canucks. The Bruins are looking to notch their first championship since 1972. On the other bench, the Canucks will are in search of their franchise’s first title in their forty year history. The Bruins are coming into the finals with poise and enough momentum to do something special. After losing their first two games at home to Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs, many thought that this team was done. Behind Tim Thomas the Bruins battled back and fought to live another round. Their next match up pitted them against the Philadelphia Flyers, a team who they collapsed against last year after leading three games to none and leading three goals to none in game seven. The Bruins would have none of it this year winning four straight and earning a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning. An offensive team with a combination of youth and veteran presence, the Lightning seemed a tough match up for the Bruins. This series was a seven game series for the ages. From high scoring games which saw the Lightning’s Dwayne Roloson removed early twice, to the epic one goal game seven, the series did not disappoint. In the decisive game, Roloson came up big with 37 saves but Tim Thomas came up even bigger by stonewalling the Lightning carrying his team on to the next round.
The Canucks have finally lived up to their tremendous expectations. After nearly blowing a three to nothing lead in round one, the Canucks dug deep and were able to knock off the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks. Since then the road has been relatively painless for the Canucks. In round two the Predators gave the Canucks a series but were clearly overmatched. The Canucks then moved on and defeated the San Jose Sharks handily. On offense, Ryan Kessler has been a horse. He has been one of the best offensive players in the playoffs thus far and has scored big goals throughout the playoffs. The Sedin twins were silent in the early rounds but were dominant against the Sharks. In net Roberto Luongo has recovered from his near-demise against the Blackhawks.
So who wins? This series has the potential to be a tremendous one. The Bruins are incredible on defense with Zedeno Chara dominating opposing offenses and Tim Thomas consistently shutting the door. The Canucks are dynamic on offense with the Sedin twins on fire and Ryan Kessler playing great hockey. In big series the intangibles are usually the deciding factor. Thus far the Bruins are just 5 of 61 on the power play. If they are to win this series, they must improve in this area. In the end I think that the Canucks will have too much for the Bruins. With so many offensive options, an improving defense led by Kevin Bieksa, and a formidable goalie in Ryan Luongo, the Canucks have what it takes to hoist the cup. Canucks in 6