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There’s nothing like playoff hockey, and there’s really nothing like a Game 7, especially when the winner is going to end up lifting the Stanley Cup after playing over 100 games on the season. The Vancouver Canucks are going to try to hoist their first Cup in team history, but not if the Boston Bruins have anything to say about it on Wednesday night.
Stanley Cup Playoffs Game 7 Preview: Boston Bruins @ Vancouver Canucks
Date: Wednesday, June 15th, 8:00 ET
Location: Rogers Arena, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Game Line: Vancouver -145
Boston knows that it hasn’t gotten any offense going in this series in three games up in Vancouver, but it hopes that the momentum that it has gotten from these three games in Beantown can help get it over the hump in this most pivotal of games. The Bruins in fact, only have two goals in the Great White North in this series, both of which came within three minutes of one another in Game 2. Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi were the ones that did the deed. Instead, we really have to focus in on the play of Tim Thomas in net. It’s not often that we are confident that a player on a losing team is going to end up winning the MVP award for the postseason, but we know that Thomas is going to have some sort of hardware barring someone coming up with a truly remarkable performance in Game 7 for Vancouver. The 37 year old net minder has had a great story through his career. He has had surgeries, procedures, and other medical problems that have not only threatened his playing career, but his life as well, and he came into this season facing the prospects of being the backup goaltender for a second straight year to Tuukka Rask. Instead, Thomas won the starting job, set the record for the best save percentage in a season at .938, and has played every single minute of the playoffs. He’s sure to win the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top net minder, and the truth of the matter is that regardless of which way Game 7 goes, he should be the Conn Smythe Award winner to boot. Thomas has allowed just eight goals in this series, which is saying something considering the fact that Vancouver had the best offensive team in the league this year.
History just doesn’t feel like it is on the side of the Canucks in this series. In fact, it never really seems to matter who Vancouver is running up against, it always feels like it is coming so close, yet is so far away. The Canucks have only gotten this close to the Stanley Cup one time in team history, and as quickly as they reached the three win plateau in 1994 in the Finals against the New York Rangers, a 3-2 loss at Madison Square Garden took it all away and left the team without a championship. This is the first time since that point in which Vancouver had even made it to the Western Conference Finals, let alone to the Stanley Cup Finals. We know that there are some obvious problems that need to be worked out for Vancouver to win this game. The first is in net. We know that Roberto Luongo has had all sorts of great play here at Rogers Arena over the course of the last two seasons. He won a gold medal here for a great performance in a 2-1 win over the United States for Team Canada in the Winter Olympics, and now, he has a .979 save percentage, including two shutouts in three games here in the Stanley Cup Finals this year. Of course, at the TD Garden, he stopped less than 80 percent of his shots and was run out of two of the three games, allowing 15 goals in that time frame. However, it would really help if his offense were to show up just a bit. The Canucks only have eight goals scored in this series, one of which came from Henrik Sedin in Game 6 after things were already out of hand, and one of which came from Daniel Sedin in that devastatingly bad 8-1 loss in Beantown. Ryan Kesler only has one assist for the series and no goals after scoring 41 in the regular season.
We just don’t know if the Canucks really have the goods in them to be able to wrap up the Stanley Cup. The whole city of Vancouver and the entire country of Canada is resting on this one game, and there is a tremendous difference between winning and losing. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Luongo and company just don’t look like the better side in this matchup even though they had the best team in the league all season long. There’s just nowhere else that we can go with our Game 7 Stanley Cup Predictions than to take the Boston Bruins +125.