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Stanley Cup Finals Matchup: #1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #3 Boston Bruins
Stanley Cup Finals Dates: June 1st – June 15th
Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup Odds: -200 @ SportBet Sportsbook
Boston Bruins Stanley Cup Odds: +175 @ SportBet Sportsbook
The Canucks and Bruins both seem like they have had some rich histories in their time. Unfortunately for both teams though, it has been quite awhile since Lord Stanley has paid a visit. Even though Vancouver has the famous Stanley Park just minutes away from Rogers Arena, the team has never actually hoisted the Stanley Cup. This is only the third time in team history in which the Canucks have been to the Stanley Cup Finals. For the Bruins, they do have their share of Cups, but they are also deficient of a championship since 1972.
The battle in goal between these two red hot goaltenders is going to be one for the ages, as it truly is one of the best contests between goaltenders that we have seen in quite some time in this league. Roberto Luongo has definitely had his share of challenges in the postseason. He was benched in Game 4 and in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Blackhawks, and he ended up not starting Game 6. Since that point though, he has been absolutely on fire, accounting for eight game with two or fewer goals allowed. The man that is going to be on the other side of the ice is also playing in his first Stanley Cup Finals of his career. Tim Thomas is likely going to win the Vezina Trophy this year, as he broke the NHL record for best save percentage in a season at .938.Thomas shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning twice in the Eastern Conference Finals, including in a nervy 1-0 Game 7 win on Wednesday night.
Offensively, it is clear which team is going to be strong. However, we perhaps shouldn’t be all that surprised, as the Bruins were not the better offensive club either in the second round of the postseason against the Philadelphia Flyers, or in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Lightning. Still, they were able to get the job done in spite of the fact that the phenomenal offensive performances were few and far between. Boston did get a hat trick out of David Krejci in a Game 6 loss against the Lightning. He is tied with Nathan Horton for the team lead in points with 17. There are only four more players with at least double digits in points, and surprisingly, Milan Lucic isn’t one of them, nor is Zdeno Chara. Boston only has five goals on the power play in the entire postseason, which is shockingly bad. Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised, though. After all, the Bruins did rank No. 21 in the league in the regular season with the man advantage.
Meanwhile, the Canucks have absolutely been dominating the postseason thanks to their power play. Daniel Sedin has five of his eight goals on the man advantage in these playoffs, while Ryan Kesler already has four of his seven goals in the playoffs on the power play. Sami Salo has three power play goals as well, and as a whole, the team has 17 strikes with the man advantage. Henrik Sedin is always a man to keep an eye on because of his cohesion with the rest of his line mates, particularly his brother, Daniel. Henrik though, leads the league in assists in the playoffs with 19, and he is going to probably be the top point scorer in the playoffs when it’s all said and done since he has 21 points now, and no one on either his own team, nor the Bruins is likely to catch him.
In the end, especially knowing that the Canucks have home ice advantage, we have to back the Western Conference champs and the President’s Trophy holders. Sure, Vancouver doesn’t have much of a playoff history, and sure, it hasn’t been to this juncture of the playoffs since 1994, but we know that this is a team that has overcome just about everything else this year. This is the destiny for the Canucks.
NHL Playoffs Picks: Vancouver Canucks in 5 (-200 @ SportBet Sportsbook)