Pressure’s on Canucks to Make History
The last time the Boston Bruins lifted the Stanley Cup, the Vancouver Canucks were celebrating their second birthday in the NHL. Although Boston has not won the Cup since 1972, Bruins fans only need to look 2,500 miles to the west for a true Cup drought.
The Canucks have never in their 40-year history won the Cup, having only reached the finals on two occasions in 1982 and 1994. The city of Vancouver has tasted victory, however, when the Vancouver Millionaires lifted the Cup in 1915 after defeating the Ottawa Senators – a mere 96 years ago.
Last year saw the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks, two teams with gigantic Cup droughts going head-to-head – and this year could be just as thrilling.
The Bruins are of course expected to compete every season. Claude Julien has built a strong team, and they have improved over the years. Despite not facing any of the preseason favorites during the playoffs so far, Boston certainly deserve their crack at the Stanley Cup.
Canucks Favorites to Lift Cup
Vancouver is hockey-mad. Not only are fans still reveling following Team Canada’s Olympic victory last year, but so much is expected of this season’s President Trophy winners.
If the Canucks are to lift the cup for the first time, it will need to be a collective effort. Against a strong Bruins’ roster, the Canucks will not be able to rely on Roberto Luongo to save their skins.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin will need to bring the form they showed in the first half of the regular season, while Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler will need to maintain the intensity they have shown during the playoffs. Defensively, Vancouver are solid, but they will need to remain composed in an extremely high-pressured environment.
Thomas Gives Bruins Confidence
It is fair to say that the Eastern Conference champions owe much of their success to the heroics of Tim Thomas. He has been outstanding throughout the playoffs, and is sure to endure another busy series against the Canucks.
Boston will be confident against their Canadian opponents. Vancouver have only beaten the Bruins 25 out of 108 regular season meetings in their history, the worst record against any team. The sides have met once this season, with the Bruins winning 3-1 at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks are not only under pressure from the city of Vancouver to perform, but also across Canada. The country hasn’t had a Stanley Cup winner since the Montreal Canadiens’ victory in 1993.
Both Sides Have Battled Under Pressure
With the whole world watching, the Canucks know the pressure is on to win their first Stanley Cup. However, Vancouver have already been forced to deal with a fair amount of pressure during their playoff run.
The Canucks’ series with the Chicago Black Hawks went right down to the wire, with Alex Burrows’ overtime winner in game seven enough to see off the reigning champions. Vancouver were pushed hard by both the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks.
Similarly, the Bruins have been taken to the wire against both the Montreal Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams are well-equipped and confident they can go all the way.
In high pressure games, it can come down to goaltending. Both finalists have relied on their stoppers throughout the series, but Tim Thomas could make the difference for the Boston Bruins.
The 37-year-old is enjoying some of the best form of his career and showed he can carry his team if necessary against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With everything on the line, the finals are sure to entertain with two attack-minded teams and once again the series could go all the way. The Canucks are favorites to lift the trophy, but the Bruins have done so well to make it this far – it would be foolish to rule out the Original Six side.