The Canucks come into this game looking for revenge and to prove they are a different team than the one that got absolutely destroyed in Boston during last year's Finals.
Boston outscored the Canucks, 17-3, in the three games played at the Garden during the Cup Final, and Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo was terrible in net during those games.
Backup goaltender Cory Schneider will start against the Bruins over Luongo Saturday.
Will the Canucks beat the Bruins on Saturday, or will Boston's toughness and physical play be a major problem for Vancouver again?
Let's look at a complete preview of this awesome matchup.
Who wins this game?
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Watch: NHL Network, NESN
Live Stream: NHL Game Center
Radio: 98.5 FM the Sports Hub for Bruins, 1040 AM for Canucks
When: Saturday, Jan. 7, at 1 p.m. EST
Player to watch for Bruins: Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin leads the Boston Bruins with 36 points this season on 16 goals and 20 assists, and has really improved his offensive and defensive abilities from last season.
Seguin's chemistry with linemates Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand has been amazing this year, and that may be the best line in hockey.
Seguin's amazing speed and great offensive awareness makes him a dangerous playmaker and the Canucks have to make sure they limit his effectiveness or they will lose on Saturday.
Expect Seguin to get a lot of ice time against Vancouver and play a major role in Boston's offensive game plan.
Player to watch for Canucks: Cory Schneider
Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider came in for Roberto Luongo twice in Boston during last season's Cup Final and actually played quite well under the immense pressure of the postseason.
Schneider, who was really composed during his time in net against the Bruins, is also from Massachusetts, so he will be motivated to perform in front of family and friends.
Schneider will be under a lot of pressure to help the Canucks on Saturday, and it will be fun to watch how he handles that.
Key Matchup: Henrik and Daniel Sedin vs. Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk
The Canucks star forward tandem of Henrik and Daniel Sedin were terrible in the Cup Final last season and were not able to do much of anything against Bruins captain and defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Chara and Johnny Boychuk are physically imposing players who also excel in the offensive zone, and the Canucks' top line has to win this matchup to win the game.
As the home team, the Bruins get the last change and will look to match up Chara against the Sedins as often as possible.
What They're Saying
Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa talked about the Bruins matchup recently, via WEEI.com:
It's another game to us. It’s obviously the team we lost the Stanley Cup to, but it's still another two points that we need. I don't think we need to put a whole lot more into that game other than we need the win.
Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo talked about not playing against the Bruins, via Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston's Twitter account.
Bruins forward Benoit Pouliot, who did not take part in the Cup Final last season, expects this matchup to be an intense one.
Like a playoff game probably. They’re going to be hungry, that’s for sure, and I watched the playoffs last year and it was pretty intense. They’re coming in here at 1 and we’ll be ready.
Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron also shared his thoughts on the upcoming Canucks matchup, via ESPN Boston:
It's going to be a huge game. Obviously they're a tough team. We've seen it last year, it's a team that's very physical, a lot of talent, great power play and now we know them more than we used to because of last year. It's going to be a tough battle and I know it's going to be an exciting game and we're all looking forward to it.
Prediction: Bruins win 4-1
The Bruins are the better team and should win this game. Boston doesn't have anything to prove and they are arguably better than last year's team that won the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins are No. 1 in goals scored and goals allowed, No. 7 in power-play percentage, and No. 4 in penalty killing. They are a deeper, faster and just as physical team as they were last season, and there's no reason they can't score four or five goals in this game.
Boston's toughness will again be a major factor in this matchup, and the Bruins will score an early goal to rattle Schneider to take control of the game.
With Chara and Boychuk shutting down the Sedin twins, Vancouver won't have enough offensive firepower to beat the Bruins.
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