Bruins, Canucks ready for Game 1
Tuesday, 05.31.2011 / 8:02 PM
NHL.comBRUINS at CANUCKS
: CBC (HD), NBC (HD), RDS (HD)
-- It's Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins last won a Stanley Cup in 1972 while the Canucks have never won the championship. Vancouver got to the Final by beating Chicago in seven games, Nashville in six and San Jose in five. Boston got here by beating Montreal in seven, Philadelphia in a sweep and then Tampa Bay in seven.
-- They've had five days to get over the high of winning Game 7 against Tampa Bay by a 1-0 margin to capture the Prince of Wales Trophy as the Eastern Conference champions. The Bruins haven't been to the Stanley Cup Final since 1990, when they lost to Edmonton in five games. They are 0-for-5 in the Cup Final since winning the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup in 1972. The Bruins are just 5-20 in Cup Final games since 1972.
However, all that history means precious little to this year's team that had to win four of the last five games against Montreal to win the series, erase the demons of last year's collapse in a sweep of the Flyers and then fend off a Lightning team that just wouldn't go away in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Nathan Horton has been the Bruins' most clutch forward in the playoffs with all eight of his goals coming in victories. He's the only player in NHL history to have two Game 7 winners in one postseason. He scored the only goal in Game 7 against Tampa Bay. David Krejci, who centers Boston's top line with Horton and Lucic, had a hat trick in Game 6 against the Lightning and the primary assist on Horton's goal in Game 7. Krejci was injured in Game 3 against Philadelphia last season and the Bruins, who had a 3-0 lead, never won another game in the series, becoming only the third team in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead. Lucic has struggled in this postseason but he's from Vancouver so motivation to play well here shouldn't be a concern.
Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg turned into the best defensive pair in the Eastern Conference once coach Claude Julien put them together after Game 2 against Montreal. They are expected to see a lot of the Sedin twins. Tim Thomas has been hot and cold in these playoffs, but every time the Bruins need him to be great he is. For instance, he was perfect against 24 shots in Game 7 against the Lightning. It was his second shutout of the series.
-- They're looking to bring the Stanley Cup to Vancouver for the first time in the franchise's 40-year history. The Canucks have been to the Cup Final twice before, but got swept by the Islanders in 1982 and lost in seven games to the Rangers in 1994, when Henrik and Daniel Sedin
were 13 years old and living back home in Sweden. Now the Sedins are the face of this franchise and are coming off a dominant performance in the Western Conference Finals against San Jose.
Henrik set franchise records with 11 assists in the series and 4 assists in Game 4. He tied Pavel Bure's record for 12 points in a one postseason series, but he needed only five games to hit that mark while Bure did it in seven games. Daniel had 2 goals and 4 assists against the Sharks. The Sedins were being criticized after the second round when they had only a combined 7 points and minus-10 rating in six games against Nashville. Now they're the hottest thing going in Vancouver again.
helped carry the Canucks to the series win over Nashville with 11 points in the six games. He wasn't nearly as productive against the Sharks because his defensive responsibilities increased from the Nashville series. However, Kesler still had 2 goals, including the game-tying tally with 13.2 seconds left in regulation of Game 5.
scored the double-overtime series winner against the Sharks. It was his fourth goal of the series. Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis
are the Canucks' top shutdown pair with both playing around 26 minutes a game. Sami Salo
and Alex Edler along with Christian Ehrhoff
and Aaron Rome
fill out what is arguably the deepest top-six in the NHL. Ehrhoff and Rome were both injured in Game 3 against the Sharks and had to sit out the final two games of the series, but they will play in Game 1 against Boston.
-- For Vancouver, Henrik Sedin
had 12 points in the five-game series against San Jose to help carry the Canucks to the Stanley Cup Final. Roberto Luongo
made 54 saves in Game 5. For Boston, Krejci had 5 points in the last three games against Tampa Bay, including a hat trick in Game 6. Horton had 4 points in the last three games against the Lightning, including the series-winner in Game 7. Thomas made 24 saves to preserve the 1-0 win in Game 7.
-- Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson
is out after undergoing surgery during the Western Conference Finals. Center Manny Malhotra
(eye) is expected to make his playoff debut in Game 1, though he did not practice on Tuesday. Malhotra has been out since March 16. Boston is healthy heading into the Stanley Cup Final.
-- The Canucks' power play is 17-for-60 in the playoffs (28.3 percent). The Bruins' power play is 5-for-61 (8.2 percent). ... Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo
have matching 2.29 GAAs in the playoffs, but Thomas has faced 75 more shots and has a better save percentage (.929 vs. .922). ... Patrice Bergeron has won 62.3 percent of his faceoffs (231 of 371), but he might meet his match if Manny Malhotra
plays. Malhotra won 61.7 percent of his draws in the regular season (778 of 1,261).
-- "You might never get a chance to do this again, have fun with it, just soak it all in as much as you can," said Mark Recchi, Boston's 42-year-old veteran and two-time Cup winner. "We know we have to get back into our bubble starting (Tuesday night) and (Wednesday), but get all the things we need to get taken care of, then focus on what we have to do as a hockey team."