|Posted by Brentzky on June 1, 2011 at 3:06 AM|
2011 Stanley Cup Finals
Set up: The Bruins enter their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1990 when they lost to the Edmonton Oilers. The original six franchise won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972 during the Bobby Orr glory days but have since had little playoff success despite making the playoffs 32 times since 1972. They will look to join their fellow New England professional sports teams in the Patriots, Red Sox, and Celtics who have all won championships in the last decade.
Offence: David Krejci and Nathan Horton have been the leaders offensively in the playoffs. But they have had a supporting cast as nine Bruins have a least three playoff goals; the Canucks have just six players. Vancouver native Milan Lucic could be the x-factor for the Bruins attack. After a career-best 30 goal regular season, Lucic has struggled with just three goals in 18 playoff games.
Defence: Captain Zdeno Chara will be the key in shutting down the Sedin twins as he has been known as a “cycle buster”. Chara leads the playoffs with a +11 rating. Dennis Seidenberg also eats up big minutes for the Bruins and has had an outstanding playoff. Tomas Kaberle will be a key in igniting the Bruins struggling powerplay.
Goaltending: An inconsistent playoff for Tim Thomas has some people questioning how he will play in the finals. With a 2.29 GAA and .929 SV%, the stats look great. But he’s had some very weak performances, including Game 2, Game 4, and Game 6 in the Conference Finals. He has been great in the limited amount of times he has played the Canucks including a 3-1 win earlier this season in Vancouver.
Set up: It is the 40th year anniversary for the Canucks and they would love to cap it off with their first ever Stanley Cup. This will be their third try in the Finals. They first made it in 1982 when they were swept by the Islanders then they lost in seven games to the Rangers in 1994. The Stanley Cup was won by the 1915 Vancouver Millionaires of the PCAHA but since then the Cup has not been to the Pacific Coast of Canada.
Offence: After leading the league in goals for during the regular season, the Canucks offence has seemed to dry off a bit in the playoffs. The Sedins were mediocore to terrible through the first two series but made up for it in the Conference Finals. Henrik had12 points in the series, tying a Canucks record. Ryan Kesler has been a great secondary option as he has 18 points in 18 games. After that, however, the Canucks will be looking for more offence from players like Mason Raymond and Chris Higgins especially if Zdeno Chara is able to shut down the Sedins.
Defence: Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome are set to return to the line up for the Canucks. This means the Canucks will have all of their top six defencemen for one of the first times this year (of course Keith Ballard previously was considered a top six). Kevin Bieksa has had an excellent playoff leading all defencemen with five goals which included that wierd overtime series winner last week.
Goaltending: Roberto Luongo is ready. He has won Olympic gold but clearly wants a Stanley Cup more. He has taken a lot of criticism from Canucks fans over the past few years for playoff disappointments. Even in the first round versus the Blackhawks this year, two bad games for Luongo had fans raging. But since Game 6 of that round, Luongo has a .935 SV% and looks very comfortable. He's done a great job dealing with pressure and that makes me believe he will have a great series.
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