2011 Stanley Cup Final, Game #7
Series Tied 3-3
#3 Boston Bruins at #1 Vancouver Canucks
Rogers Arena, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Canucks -170 / Bruins +150
Current Line: Canucks -155 / Bruins +135
Opening Total: 5 over -110 / 5 under -110
Current Total: 5 under -115 / 5 over -105
After 6 grueling games and over 20,000 combined travel miles, the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks meet in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. This is the 16th time in NHL history that the Stanley Cup will be decided in a seventh game, and the sixth time since 2000. The home team has won every game in this series, and each team has been completely different on the road. The Canucks have outscored Boston 5-2 in the three games in Vancouver so far, including a pair of 1-0 shutouts. Meanwhile, the Bruins have outscored Vancouver at home 17-3.
The series has been very chippy as well. In the last 20 years only Minnesota and Pittsburgh in 1991 had more combined penalty minutes in the Stanley Cup Final than this series. It started off in Game 1 when Alex Burrows of the Canucks bit the Bruins Patrice Bergeron on the finger. Burrows wasn’t suspended by the NHL which proved to be the difference in game 2. Burrows scored 2 goals and and had an assist as well in the Canucks’ 3-2 overtime victory in game 2. since then the Bruins have been taunting the Canucks by sticking their fingers in their mouths every time there is a scrum. In game 3 Canucks’ defenseman Aaron Rome blindsided Bruin’s forward Nathan Horton with a vicious hit and caused Horton to miss the rest of the series with a severe concussion. Rome got a game misconduct and was suspended for the rest of the series.
Despite struggling on the power play converting on 10 out of 87 chances during the post season, the Bruins are scoring an average of 3.17 goals a game during the finals. However, only 2 of their 19 goals have been scored in Vancouver. Left wing Mark Recchi, right wing Michael Ryder, and Center David Krejci all have 6 points in the series. Krejci has 4 assists to tie for the team lead with Zdeno Charo. Recchi, Ryder and left wing Brad Marchand all have three goals to lead the Bruins in the series.
The real key to the Bruins’ success has been goaltender Tim Thomas. He has given up only 8 goals in the series and has a shutout. He is the likely Conn Smythe winner for MVP of the playoffs whether the Bruins win game 7 or not. He has a 2.06 GAA average for the playoffs along with a .937 save percentage.
Meanwhile, the Canuck’s goalie situation is a little more complicated. Roberto Luongo has been nothing short of brilliant at home in 3 games against Boston giving up only 2 goals and posting two 1-0 shutouts. However, he has been awful on the road giving up 15 goals. He has been yanked twice in favor of back-up Cory Schneider. In game 6, he gave up 3 goals in the first period on only 8 shots before being pulled. Luongo is expected to start game 7 but will be on a short leash if he struggles.
The Canucks’ stars have struggled on offense in the series against Boston. The Sedin twins Daniel and Henrik have only 5 total points in the series, and Daniel has 4 of them. Ryan Kesler has only one point as well. It is rumored he has a pulled groin muscle. Sedin leads the Canucks with 4 points in the seies but only has one goal. No Canuck has scored more than 2 goals in the series. The Canucks’ once potent power play has gone ice cold, so to speak as they have only scored 2 in the series. Before this series started Vancouver was converting almost 29% of their power play chances.
Besides Horton, Boston has no other significant injuries. Vancouver has a lot of injuries and suspensions. Left Wing Mason Raymond is expected to miss game 7 with a fractured vertebrae. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis is listed as questionable with a lower body injury. Rome is also out becuase of the suspension.
In a strange coincidence, the last two times a Canadian city hosted the Olympics, the hockey team from that city not only had the best record in the regular season but won the Stanley Cup as well the following season. Montreal in 1977 and Calgary in 1989 both won the Cup the year after hosting the Olympics. Vancouver hopes this trend continues as they hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010. The Canucks have never won the cup in their 40 year history. The Bruins are no strangers to heartbreak themselves having not won the cup since 1972.
This game will come down to the goaltenders. If Luongo plays as brilliantly as he has in three games in Vancouver, then the Canucks will hoist the cup for the first time ever. However, if he struggles, then Boston could pull off the upset. We honestly don’t know which Luongo will show up. Luongo has been derisively called LeBrongo by some, a reference to Lebron James struggling in the NBA Finals. Boston has been in every game in Vancouver and had chances to win all three games. Boston lost game one 1-0 when Raffi Torres scored with 18 seconds to go in regulation. They lost game two 11 seconds into overtime when Alex Burrows scored to give the Canucks a 3-2 victory. I think Boston breaks through finally and wins a close one. Bruins win 2-1.
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