One thing is for sure, a drought will end this year.
The match-up for the Stanley Cup is set. Out of the East, you have the Boston Bruins, who haven’t won the Cup since 1972. In the West, the Vancouver Canucks are going after their first championship since entering the league in 1970. Either way, something’s got to give.
Getting to this stage wasn’t easy. Both the Bruins and Canucks survived first-round scares, along with some Game 7’s and overtime play. Regardless of the road to the Cup, they are both here and have the championship in sight.
Having seen Vancouver first-hand this season, they are living up to my belief in being the best all-around team in hockey. The Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, always seem to be involved in the goal-scoring play somehow. Add the play of Ryan Kesler, who has stepped it up in the playoffs, and the Canucks are a very formidable offensive threat. In the pipes, Roberto Luongo doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves. When the Canucks win, Luongo appears to be an afterthought. But make no mistake, they wouldn’t be in this position without his stellar play.
The Bruins come in with one of the most valuable goaltenders around in Tim Thomas. Thomas has made plenty of highlight saves, which appears to inspire his teammates. Nathan Horton has been a big-time player for the Bruins, getting the game-winner in the 3rd period of Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Something interesting to watch will be the Sedin twins matching up against Bruins defensemen Zdeno Chara. Big Z will definitely have his hands full with the duo, who had a combined 18 points after the series with the San Jose Sharks. Whoever wins this battle possibly wins the Cup.
Face-off for Game 1 is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Vancouver. The offensive firepower of the Canucks against the defense of Thomas should be fun to watch. While Vancouver is favored to win, if any team can end that thought it’s the Bruins.
Crazier things have happened, and usually does in the Stanley Cup finals.
Written by C. James