The Stanley Cup Finals - edition 2011 - start tonight in Vancouver BC. As in prior years, these finals will bring us surprises, thrills and heartache. Regardless if you're a Bruins or Canucks fan, the SCF becomes the final battle of attrition for North America's oldest trophy.
The Bruins will need some effort from the much maligned power play which is clipping in at just over 8% efficiency. If the teams play hockey and stay out of the sin bin, Bostonians will like their chances as the Bruins have scored the most even strength goals in this year's Quest for the Cup. Key players for the Bruins will be: Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton. Horton has shown the ability to score some timely goals by coming up with the series winner against both the Canadiens and the Lightning.
The Canucks have shown some resiliency against the defending Cup champion Blackhawks by protecting a 3-0 series lead that went to a Game 7 Overtime. By chasing the Chicago demons, the 'nucks were able to dispose of both the Predators and the ever-disappointing Sharks. The Western Conference champions from Van-city have the most offensive depth throughout the playoffs and quietly Henrik Sedin is leading all playoff scorers with 2 goals and 19 assists. The Sedin twins aside, Boston will need to contend with both Ryan Kessler and Alex Burrows. Kevin Bieksa will continue to provide some peskiness at defense while Roberto Luongo will try to quiet his detractors who have consistently criticized Bobby-Lu for not being a "winner".
I see a tough series with the Canucks prevailing in 6 games.
June 1, 2011