Bring on the Bruins
The Vancouver Canucks had a fantastic record against teams in the Eastern Conference this season, going 11-5-2 along the way.
However, they were unsuccessful in their only meeting with the Boston Bruins, who shutout the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final Friday night. Boston will now face Vancouver in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins have have won five Stanley Cups in franchise history, most recently in 1971-72, the Canucks' second season in the NHL.
Boston finished atop the Northeast Division this year with a record of 46-25-11. They had the best goals against totals of any team in the East (195) and were decent against teams from the West (8-7-3). They were also very strong when playing Northwest Division clubs, going 4-1-0 along the way.
The lone meeting the Canucks had with Boston came February 26 at Rogers Arena when the Bruins skated away with a 3-1 victory.
Manny Malhotra had the lone goal for Vancouver while local product Milan Lucic led the attack for the visitors with a goal and two assists. The Canucks outshot the Bruins 28-25, which oddly enough was the second time in franchise history that Vancouver had more shots than Boston in a head-to-head meeting.
Lifetime, the Canucks are 25-66-17 against the Bruins, which includes a home ice record of 17-28-9. The Bruins have made just three visits to Rogers Arena since 2002.
This series will feature a match-up of two Vezina Trophy finalists.
Roberto Luongo made 22 saves in the loss to the Bruins this series, putting his career record against Boston at 11-10-3.
Tim Thomas, who led all NHL netminders this year in goals against average (2.00) and save percentage (.938), made 27 stops in the win. That improved his career record against the Canucks to 3-0-0, with his previous victories coming in shutout performances.
The lone Canucks skater to have played for the Bruins is Andrew Alberts, who played 184 games in Boston from 2005-08. Cory Schneider is the lone Canucks player born in Massachusetts. While there are no former Canucks on the Bruins line-up, Lucic won a Memorial Cup in 2007 with his hometown Vancouver Giants while Kamloops, BC native Mark Recchi is the oldest player remaining in the NHL playoffs at the age of 43.
The Stanley Cup Final begins Wednesday, June 1 with Games 1 & 2 played at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.