Living in a hockey crazed city (Vancouver) has it's perks! I've been able to see firsthand what it takes to win the Stanley Cup including the highs and lows in the journey. Here is a blog taking a look at these worthy franchises and how it could go from here!
Lu has had some very mixed performances throughout the playoffs. He has done enough to get them to one game to win it all. He has only stolen a few games and has been lit up several times. His confidence and motivation is to prove that he is a Stanley Cup winner. He is also a Vezina Trophy finalist.
Tim Thomas is a strong vote for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. He has taken his team through two 7 game series and to two wins for the Stanley Cup. His smile tells it all. He is carrying his team and his aggressive play and dominance in the net is proving the biggest challenge for the Canucks! He is a Vezina Trophy finalist and will win this trophy based on his play over the whole season/playoffs!
The Defence corp had been the best story for the Canucks during the regular season. Now, it is needed the most to help out Luongo and get the job done for game 6. Rome has been suspended for the remaining games due to the ugly hit on Horton. Hamhuis is out also. Leaving the likes of Bieksa, Ehrhoff, Salo, Edler & Alberts to take charge. Ballard had his chance but blew it with poor play leaving Tanev as the 6th man. The Special teams need to improve as they have the best point shooters in the playoffs. The hitting has stepped up a little. There needs to be more commitment in puck security and avoiding turnovers as the last time in Boston the puck was found in the back of the net through defensive gaffs.
Led by the dominant Chara. Boston is a very defensive team which rally around big passes and the dump and chase. They have a good transitional play. Kaberle has been a letdown for their Power Play and has made several errors. (perhaps it is because being out of the playoffs with the Leafs has slowed him down?) Seidenberg, Ference, McQuaid & Boychuk make up the corp. There is less skill than the Canucks but they have been pulling very well together as a unit and solid on Penalty Killing.
The Canucks offensive lineup is very deep led by the Sedin Twins and Kesler. There have been big role players like Torres and Burrows. The story of Manny Malhotra coming back to the playoffs was very touching as he deserves to have his shot at the cup. Hansen and Raymond have been good value in the run. Lapierre has been a thorn in the Bruin side with his agitating abilities. There needs to be more importance placed on special teams and solving Tim Thomas who has been very difficult to score on.
The Bruins forwards are big and tough. Losing Horton early on in the finals hurt them. There is still a lot of skill with the likes of Bergeron, Ryder, Lucic and Krejci. The ageless Mark Recchi has been a wonder in his 22nd season to still compete at 43 and still produce! Marchand and Thornton have done a good job in creating trouble with the Canucks forwards. There has been a lot of non-calls from the officials which has the Bruins taking full advantage in agitating the Twins in particular.
The Vancouver Canucks are in the driving seat 3-2 in the series. They have been outscored in the series and Tim Thomas has outperformed Luongo for the most part. However, right from the start of the season I chose both of these teams to finish first because of their overall team potential. I believe the Canucks will win the cup in Game 6 on the road in Boston. It is a best of two games series and there is way too much importance now to look at a seventh game. It will be a huge game and the best team will win!
Canucks in six.
Conn Smythe: Tim Thomas/Ryan Kesler
Stanley Cup: Vancouver Canucks
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