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Fans of either team―and any interested observers, for that matter―can blame whoever they blame for the 2012 lockout for lessening the luster of this matchup.
Had last year’s schedule gone as originally slated, the Bruins would have visited Vancouver on Dec. 29, 2012. That would have marked their first contest at Rogers Arena since clinching the Cup there in Game 7 on June 15, 2011.
Instead, by Saturday night’s faceoff, almost exactly two-and-a-half years will have elapsed since then. It will have been nearly two full years, rather than one, since the only other rematch between these franchises, who battled in Boston on Jan. 7, 2012.
In that interim, one-half of the memorable goaltending card from that 2011 championship bout has gone to the Florida Panthers. One-half of the head coaching matchup is now serving the same role for the New York Rangers.
For those reasons, particularly the fact that Tim Thomas’ laps with the Conn Smythe Trophy constitute his last twirls in Boston attire on Vancouver ice, this will not be as compelling as it could have been.
With that said, not everything is lost as long as there are still some key holdovers on each side. That is the case as long as the losing franchise and fanbase still have yet to host another matchup at the scene of the crime.
If nothing else, this is the long-awaited and obligatory moment where each party puts the last stamp on the turning of the page. Vancouver’s insertion of head coach John Tortorella could even offer the matchup a second wind of intensity.