NHL Playoffs 2011: San Jose Sharks' 5 Keys to Victory Against Vancouver Canucks

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NHL Playoffs 2011: San Jose Sharks' 5 Keys to Victory Against Vancouver Canucks
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Western Conference Finals open Sunday between the two best teams in the Western Conference, and the series has all the makings of a classic battle.

Awaiting the Sharks are the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, who defeated the Nashville Predators Monday to advance to the Finals.

The last time Vancouver appeared in the Western Finals was back in 1994, with Trevor Linden, Kirk McLean and some young Russian guy named Pavel Bure.

The Sharks and Canucks have had some memorable games this season, including a key 4-3 loss back in January. The loss led to postgame comments from Ryane Clowe, who openly challenged his teammates and signified a turning point to the season.

With all the chips pushed into the pot, the two best teams in the Western Conference now prepare to do battle.

Both teams have a checkered history in the playoffs, both teams eventually beat their respective rivals after blowing a 3-0 lead in their series and both teams are without a Stanley Cup to their name.

Here are the keys to defeating the Vancouver Canucks and advancing to the Sharks’ first Stanley Cup Final ever.

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